Bacteria-coated solar panels generate energy even in cloudy weather

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<pre>Bacteria-coated solar panels generate energy even in cloudy weather

Microorganisms have successfully learned to use the energy of the Sun millions of years before the appearance of man – and people need to learn from them. Researchers from the University of British Columbia have developed a new technology for creating biogenic solar panels, which radically outperform their analogues. They are based on E. coli live bacteria.

Traditional methods of using microbes in solar energy are barbarous – living creatures are poisoned with toxic solvents to extract important pigments involved in photosynthesis from them. The team led by biologist Vikramaditya Yadava suggested leaving the bacteria alive by changing their DNA. To do this, the E. Coli culture was dropped onto a glass substrate and covered with a transparent semiconductor material on top.

In such conditions, bacteria will still die, but not at once, but the energy they generate in the process of vital activity will be immediately allocated to the accumulators. To make the process more effective, scientists used the genetically modified version of E. Coli, with increased production of the pigment of lycopene, a participant in photosynthesis. And received a current density of 0.686 milliamps per square. see, which is twice as high as in existing biogenic solar panels.

What is even more interesting, in the process of vital activity, the modified bacteria managed to catch a maximum of photons, continuing to produce energy in cloudy weather. And the cost of creating a plate with microbes is 10 times lower than using a structure with a pure pigment. It remains to decide the issue of survival of bacteria and it will be possible to talk about a new direction in the development of energy.

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