Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

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.


(Solar Leaves)

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 |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Engineering ")

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.' Frank Herbert, 1965.

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.' - Gene Roddenberry, 1967.

Plasma Window Technology, Pressure Cushions and Deflector Doors
'The Marine Gunner stepped gingerly through the invisible barrier. He had to push.' - Niven and Pournelle, 1974.

Giant Telescope Lenses Made In Space
'...a cyclopean beast living among the asteroidal rubble of some distant sun.' - Arthur C. Clarke, 1953.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

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.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Your Martian Dream Home, Made By Fungi
'... it was the cheapest building material known.'

The Dune Ornithopter, Movie And Book
'The wings were at full spread-rest, their delicate metal interleavings extended.'

100X Improvement In DNA Information Storage
'A record that wouldn't get lost and couldn't be destroyed.'

NASA 'Holoports' Doctor Onto Space Station
Star Trek Voyager Emergency Medical Hologram

Should We Train AIs To Imagine A Future Of Horrific Disasters
'LET ME TELL YOU HOW MUCH I'VE COME TO HATE YOU SINCE I BEGAN TO LIVE.'

Mouth Haptics Invented By Frederik Pohl In 1965, CMU Now Has Prototype
'What he got was indeed a kiss. It was disconcerting. No kissing lips were visible.'

Two Towns Linked By Sculpture Portal In Real Time
'I am the Guardian of Forever.'

3D Printed Robotic Tentacles
'... articulate ropes of steel dangling'

Update: Musk Doubles Down On Optimus Prime Humanoid Robot
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Elon Musk: Production Of Robotaxis In 2024
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

True Crime Live Podcasting In Fiction
'And loving it too, those millions. Bloodthirsty to the last one of them.'

AI Employment Decision Software Reconsidered By California Lawmakers
'They had screwed up and been blacklisted by Manna. They were back living with their parents or sleeping on the sofa with a friend.'

Six Ships Are Now Docked At The International Space Station!
It's getting crowded up there!

SUCHO Saving Ukraine's Libraries Digitally
'No human mind could ever hope to master even a small portion of what was being received every second, Sam thought, but it would all be there...'

Optimus Prime Tesla Robot Overall Humanoid Software Architecture
'I shall introduce myself. I am R. Daneel Olivaw... I am a robot. Were you not told?'

Vast Cosmic Structures And Spooky Alignments
'This postulates a force-field of partly electromagnetic character, generated by gyromagnetic action within atomic nuclei near the center of the galaxy.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.