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 -
Dune Fans! Power Your Devices With Sweaty Shirts
Yet another power source from humans.
Zero Mass 'Vaporators' Pull Drinking Water From The Air
Did you think of Star Wars?
Integrated Circuits Printed Right Onto Fabric!
'...a shirt that displayed email on its sleeve. - Margaret Atwood, 2003.
Drones Guided By The Mind Alone
'His treads left no tracks upon the floor...' - Clifford Simak, 1961.
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.
A 'Genuine Nanorobotic Production Factory'
'Microscopic machinery, smaller than ants, smaller than pins, working energetically, purposefully - constructing something...'
Neuromorphic Computer Offers Non-von Neumann Architecture
Fires faster than brain at 1/10K energy.
Evorus Your Crowd-Powered Conversational Assistant
'...the DS [Daily Schedule] was suddenly transformed into a valued confidante.'
Mealworms Food Of The Future
Get your grubs on.
Alibaba's AI May Read Better Than You
'Mike ... could accept other languages and was doing technical translating - and reading endlessly.'
Musk's Boring Flamethrower
'Skeletons in tatters. Burned by a flesh gun'
Humanity Star LEO Advertisement?
'Everyone has noticed those enormous advertisements...'
Nissan ProPILOT Slippers Are Self-Parking, Autonomous
Beyond science and fiction.
Atomristors - Atomic Memristors - Using Thin Nanomaterials
'I could almost feel those little tunnel junction neuristors working, forming their own interconnections as I operated it.'
Bigelow Prepares Inflatable Lunar Hotel
'Suddenly, hitherto unheard-of sums of money became available for investment in civilian orbital stations.'
Drunk Driver Of Tesla Claims Autopilot Was In Charge
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive.'
Medical Exoskeleton From Cyberdyne Gets FDA Approval
It's been a long road for HAL-5; I started writing about it in 2005.
Fungi-Infused Concrete Repairs Itself
'I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.'
Shiftwear Display Shoes
'He unlaced her shoe and glanced at its readout.'
NASA SEXTANT First With X-Ray Nav In Space
'You need at least four beacons for an accurate fix.'
GM Introduces Cruise AV With No Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel?' ... 'I do not need one.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories