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Biological photovoltaic systems

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A friendly discussion hosted by Prof David MacKay and Prof Chris Howe. Prof Howe leads a group in the Department of Biochemistry that covers a number of areas in the biochemistry and molecular biology of photosynthetic organisms, and the evolutionary processes that gave rise to them

Abstract: We are interested in systems that allow electricity generation from photosynthetic organisms, somewhat resembling microbial fuel cells. The simplest systems use single-celled algae associated with an electrode, often as a biofilm. The organisms generate a small amount of current in the dark, and this increases on illumination. Other systems use plants that secrete organic compounds from the roots. The compounds are metabolised by bacteria in the root environment, again generating current. Can we exploit these systems at larger scale for power production?

This talk is part of the Winton Discussions series.

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