Solar Cell Made From Pea Plant

Plant photosynthesis is one of nature’s great wonders and science has endeavouring to help unlock the secrets of how plants so efficiently turn the sun into energy in order to mimic that process. Once the code is cracked, one application is the production of cheap and more efficient solar cells.
 
Prof. Nathan Nelson of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biochemistry and his team have deciphered a complex membrane protein structure which is the core of our their proposed model for developing green energy solutions.
 
To generate useful energy, plants have evolved nano-machinery that operates with light as its energy source and gives a perfect quantum yield of 100%. Called the Photosystem I (PSI) complex, this complex was isolated from pea leaves.
 
Professor Nelson’s research aims to come close to achieving the energy production that plants can obtain when converting sun to sugars in their green leaves. 
 
“If we could come even close to how plants are manufacturing their sugar energy, we’d have a breakthrough. It’s therefore important to solve the structure of this nano-machine to understand its function,” says Professor Nelson.
 
Professor Nelson has already experienced some success in developing pea plant solar cells by placing the plant’s PSI crystals on a gold-plated surface.
 
“One can imagine our amazement and joy when, upon illumination of those crystals placed on gold covered plates, we were able to generate a voltage of 10 volts. This won’t solve our world’s energy problem, but this could be assembled in power switches for low-power solar needs".
  
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