Thursday, February 2, 2012

Researcher Andreas Mershin at MIT Has Created Solar Panels From Agricultural Waste Such as Grass & Dead Leaves

""In a few years, Mershin says it’ll be possible to stir some grass clippings into a bag of cheap chemicals, paint the mixture on your roof, and immediately start producing electricity.

If you remember high school biology classes, you will hopefully remember a process called photosynthesis, whereby plants turn sunlight into energy. Mershin has found a process which extracts the photosynthesizing molecules, called photosystem I, from plant matter. Photosystem I contains chlorophyll, the protein that actually converts photons into a flow of electrons.""

""These molecules are then stabilized and spread on a glass substrate that’s covered in a forest of zinc oxide nanowires and titanium dioxide “sponges.” When sunlight hits the panels, both the titanium dioxide and the new material absorb light and turn it into electricity, and the nanowires carry the electricity away. In essence, Mershin has replaced the layer of silicon in conventional photovoltaic cells with a slurry of photosynthesizing molecules. “It’s like an electric nanoforest,” he says.""

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