Scientists at NCSU have recently published research that may change the way we see and use solar energy.
The current standard in solar is synthetic semiconductors. You’ve seen them before; either on your neighbor’s roof, the top of a high-rise, or even on calculators. They work with incredible efficiency to convert beams of sunlight into useable energy, and are in use all across the globe. Solar continues to grow in popularity, and the technology is quick to follow.
While it’s usually synthetic semiconductors used to convert energy, these scientists have instead used chlorophyll to successfully mimic the way a plant converts sunlight into food.
Natural based semiconductors have the potential to be more cost effective and more environmentally friendly than traditional solar. These panels would also be flexible, allowing them to be installed almost anywhere.
While using a natural-based semiconductor may have many benefits, we are still quite a ways away from seeing this type of solar in regular use. Currently, scientists have only successfully used chlorophyll to convert light into energy in a lab environment. They are hoping their research today will pave the way for a future where we can implement this technology in our daily lives to further reduce our footprint.