Does the key to solar cell efficiency lie in the darkest places on earth?

WIRED has a fascinating story about a company called The Swedish Algae Factory, a commercial research lab which farms a type of algae that is harvested from the freezing depths of Nordic oceans.

Because they developed in these low light conditions over hundreds of millions of years, “These single cell entities are able to thrive in low light thanks to one extraordinary ability: they can make their own shell made of glass.”

The article continues: “By extracting these microscopic shells and incorporating them into solar panels, Allert and her team can increase the panels’ efficiency – by four per cent with silicon-based panels and by a staggering 60 per cent with dye sensitised solar cells.”

We highly recommend that in addition to reading the WIRED article you also visit the Swedish Algae Factory website and poke around. The World Wildlife Fund gave The Swedish Algae Factory its 2017 Climate Saver award and says that “The application will raise efficiency and lower the cost of solar energy. If this innovation or others like it penetrates 30 percent of the target market by 2027, the global greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by 21 million tons of CO2e annually.”

Read the whole article at WIRED
Photo: Davide Cantelli on Unsplash
The Swedish Algae Factory website

 

 

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