Solar Leaves - Electrochemical and Biological
Artificial solar leaves created by the Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology group have been putting solar cells on small, flexible pieces of plastic.
Then, you tack hundreds of them onto the side of a house, creating an ivy-like solar array.
(Solar Leaves ivy-like on house)
Not content to rest with this innovation, SMIT attaches them in such a way that they can flutter like actual leaves. Each solar leaf is attached to a piezoelectric generator; the shaking of the leaf generates an extra bit of power.
(Solar Leaves ivy-like on house with piezoelectric connections)
I love these guys.
The leaf idea is also being used in the creation of biologically-based artificial leaves that can also harvest solar energy. At Arizona State University, Tom Moore and his co-workers are using artificial cell like structures called liposomes as light harvesting machines.
Chloroplasts do not convert sunlight into electrical current. They merely move electrons from one side of a membrane to another - a process that is eventually exploited to make chemicals. It would be a very useful ability to mimic in artificial systems: imagine chemicals factories where the reactions are not driven by, say, heat from a flame, but directly from the energy of sunlight. This is the kind of vision that Moore’s group is pursuing.
The Gratzel cell produces elecromotive force (EMF), which is exactly what is needed to run the motors and electronic devices of the macroscopic world. But in a chloroplast, electron transfer has a different result. It leads to an electrochemical potential that drives microscopic motors and other devices of living cells. Electron transfer in chloroplasts occurs inside complex membrane structures. They are made from a collection of molecules called “phospholipids” - molecular “tadpoles” with a water soluble head group and a water insoluble tail. In water, phospholipids spontaneously form hollow spherical membranes called liposomes, driven by the tendency of the insoluble tail to shy away from the water.
Thomas A. Easton had a very similar idea in his 1990 novel Sparrowhawk. He imagined that plants could be genetically altered in such a way that the individual cells on a leaf could be activated in different colors - a leaf screen that could be grown by the thousands.
Via SMIT’s GROW: Solar and Wind Photovoltaic ‘Leaves’ and Solar Leaves at Cheresources.com.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/7/2008)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.' - Philip K. Dick, 1955.
Implosion Fabrication Shrinks 3D Objects To Nanoscale
'Carter had watched miniaturization a hundred times...' - Isaac Asimov, 1965.
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...' - EB White, 1950.
Phil Nuyttnn's City Under The Sea
''Under the lower roof there was no water, but a clear and luminous atmosphere...' - Andre Laurie, 1895.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Unfurl The Future! Huawei Mate X versus Galaxy Fold
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled silently from the top of the unit and immediately grew rigid.'
Amazon Echo And Google Home Should Have Morality Software
'The Dwoskin Morality Rating-Computer could 'spot the slightest tendency to deviation' from the social norm...'
China Building Robot Wives
'Want a life-companion, a pleasant one?'
China Social Credit System Like State-Run Whuffie
'At least there was no mandatory Whuffie check on the monorail platform...'
Project Soli Radar Gesture Chip Now FCC Approved
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'
Stan, Robot Valet, Will Drag Your Car Away
'He activated the grapple tracks. '
Jibo Home Robot Says Goodbye, Is Killswitched
'It resembles an oyster....'
Johns Hopkins Says Asteroid Deflection Will Be Difficult
'This obelisk is one huge deflector mechanism...'
Fabric Automatically Cools Or Insulates Based On Environment
'...a high-efficiency filter and heat-exchange system.'
Deepfakes From OpenAI GPT-2 Algorithm
'How can you compete with an IBM heavy-duty logomatic analogue?'
John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
'The huge plow... seemed to shake itself - and began to move back southward.'
North Focals Smart Glasses Provide Augmented Reality In Style
'The world ... is drenched in unfamiliar information all the way to the horizon.'
Tesla Driver Caught Napping Behind The Wheel
'Mary Risling settled back for a little nap...'
Hayabusa 2 To Begin Asteroid Mining
'We must dig down, and then doubtless we shall find the metal.'
Ionocraft Drone Powered By Electrohydrodynamic Thrust
'He saw one hiss by him as he rounded the corner, trailing a short whip antenna...'
Purdue Pharma Ready To Profit From OxyContin Use Or Addiction Recovery
'It may be organic damage. It may be permanent. Time'll tell, and only after you are off Substance D for a long while.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories