University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Research Seminars > Bio-Photovoltaic (BPV) devices: wiring photosynthetic material

Bio-Photovoltaic (BPV) devices: wiring photosynthetic material

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The Sun, in the form of solar energy, is the ultimate source of energy for all life on Earth and harnessing this energy is one of the great scientific and technological challenges. Traditional fossil fuels are considered to be the main contributor to the greenhouse effect; they are subject to a large political risk and destined to unavoidable depletion. Conversely, solar energy is virtually carbon-free, extremely abundant and available worldwide. Nature has clearly demonstrated that it is possible to harness solar energy through the process of photosynthesis. It is estimated that the Earth’s photosynthetic organisms convert over 10 times more energy per year than current human energy consumption, albeit with a low energy conversion efficiency (average ca. 0.25%). A number or synthetic techniques have also been developed to try and emulate the photosynthetic process; the most successful of these is the traditional solar cells based on the photovoltaic effect. Unlike photosynthetic organisms they are able to convert energy with a high efficiency (ca. 10%). However, the technology is based on the use of expensive, high purity semi-conductor materials. The talk will describe the development of a method for harnessing solar energy which combines the synthetic and biological techniques targeting low manufacturing costs, high energy conversion efficiency and virtually carbon-free emission. The talk will include: ” BPV , general introduction ” Historical background ” Our devices ” Proposed future work

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Research Seminars series.

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