Algae can power our future batteries! This is at least the experiment conducted by researchers that has proven its effectiveness. But we are still very far from marketing…
Photosynthesis, which allows organisms to synthesize organic matter using energy from the sun (among other sources), is at the heart of the photovoltaic process. This relatively new technology is getting a lot of interest from scientists and industrialists, as it could be one of the future ways to produce energy.
The magic of photosynthesis
Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have developed a type of pile in which micro-blue algae have been enclosed. After being exposed to sunlight, these cyanobacteria were able to generate the equivalent of 0.3 microwatt-hours thanks to the process of photosynthesis. Not much, but that power was enough to power the Arm Cortex-M0+ chip for six months!
Another good surprise, the “stack” of algae generated an excess of energy, which made it possible to operate the chip at night. For use with Internet of Things (IoT) devices that require little power, cyanobacteria can represent an efficient and cost-effective alternative to conventional batteries or batteries.
Even better, using algae and photosynthesis to produce electricity is much less polluting than traditional energy sources, but the comparison is also useful compared to solar panels or wind turbines. So photovoltaics have a bright future ahead of them, but this technology is far from complete.
In fact, the performance of algae is so minimal, it turns into electricity with only 0.25% of the solar energy captured. So it would take huge batteries to be able to power a traditional computer…or keep looking to improve the performance of this technology in earnest! However, the first step can be taken reasonably quickly for an Internet of Things where needs are less important.
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