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The next generation Solar Cell

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chlorophyll solar_panel_and_solar_cell With all the hype that is building up on renewable energy, I’d like to take a moment and discuss my theory of what the next generation of solar cell design will be and why I think it will be widely used. I am referring to the concept of the regenerative solar cell. This type of solar cell would be built using low tech equipment, be repairable and have a standard yearly maintenance cycle like most things that go on the rooftop or a porch.

Basically a renewable solar cell would be a flat paneled device that uses chlorophyll to absorb electrons and then pass them to a conductive substrate such as aluminum or copper, where those electrons can move around and do useful work. Naturally the chlorophyll, being organic, will tend to degrade over a few months/year and is soluble in water. Thus any solar cell made in this form would more then likely be destroyed if rain were to enter the system. To solve this problem, my solar cell would be a very flat rectangular aquarium shape, sealed except for an intake and outlet regulator valve, and made from glass or organic non reactive plastics (ie. something that will not degrade in sunlight).

biodiesel_algae So essentially there will be either a green gel, or more likely, a green painted paste on the conductive surface of the cell, all located inside a sealed panel. After a year or so, the organic paste starts to lose its ability to charge via sunlight and must be replaced. By using the internal and external valves, one can run water through the cell and wash the green paste away and into the streets because it is biodegradable and can be reused by the grass and plants below. Once the cell is clean internally, the owner simply mixes a new batch of green gel and pumps it or paints it back onto the conductive surface thus restoring the cell to perfect working order. Another approach would be to have the cell enclosed in a glass sealed box and when it fails, to lift up the box (like a glass version of a Gift Box for clothes at the store) and wash off the cells, then paint them and reseal the unit.

Organic Solar Cell Think about it: cheap chlorophyll can be obtained via growing algae in artificial ponds and boiling them using solar concentrating parabolas. This would leech out the needed chemicals, and the waste could be dried for use as fish feed or recycled into the pond. For a few dollars a year, you could buy a jar of dried chlorophyll and ready mix it into your collectors with a paint brush and wash the remainder down the sink without fear of polluting the environment.

All that is needed is a few chemists or enterprising people who want to run a few tests a small amount of cash to start. The technology is open, it is widely available and if dire emergencies arose, local production of the critical substance could be made by people in even the poorest of nations (basically boil your green veggies, collect the water, and concentrate that into green goo)!


Interestingly I found this small article (where I took that last picture!)


Written by Josecito

January 24, 2011 at 11:41 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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