Harness green energy from photosynthesis for next generation’s power needs

[Canada] Global warming is a burning issue and scientists across the globe are cooking up ways to create a clean and green energy source as the potential solution. A team of bio-researchers from Concordia University’s Optical Bio Microsystem Lab has developed a pathbreaking technology that lets you harness electricity from photosynthesis and respiration of blue-green algae.

The new micro-photosynthetic cell technology lets you generate clean energy in an economical way from algae’s power to convert solar energy to its own food. Led by Dr. Muthukumaran Packirisamy, the team has devised a mechanism that uses the presence of electron transfer chains during respiration and photosynthesis in plant’s cells.

The team achieved this by trapping electrons released by blue-green algae with photosynthetic power cells. These cells are made up of cathode, anode and proton exchange membrane. A redox agent is located at the cathode and the cyano bacteria are situated at the anode. The anode released electrons to the electrode surface. The electrons are extracted from an externally connected load.

The team’s research work demonstrates that the fabricated photo-synthetic power cell is able to produce about 993mV of open circuit voltage of 993mV and 36.23W/cm2 power density. Moreover, they were able to increase the power cell’s performance by reducing the spacing between the two electrodes of proton exchange membrane.

The Concordia University researchers are confident that their technology can find applications in wireless electronics and several military domains. Those power cells can also act as efficient energy sources for Bio MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) devices.

Though the prototype has delivered satisfactory results, the team is now working on fabricating a power cell that sustains high power density and high current density. To make it a commercial success, the scientists also need to devise way to make the fabrication process more economical and scale the power generated.

This is just a first step in the right direction and the researchers are hopeful that further advances can be made in years to come. What are your thoughts about the photosynthetic power cells? Share with us in comments below.


View original article at: Harness green energy from photosynthesis for next generation’s power needs

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