(ORDO NEWS) — Researchers have created a photovoltaic cell that generates energy through the photosynthesis of blue-green algae.
The system, using only light and water, does not need to be recharged and can power the microprocessor for a year.
The system they developed uses only light and water and can be a reliable and renewable source for powering small devices.
The photovoltaic cell is comparable in size to an AA battery and contains the blue-green algae Synechocystis , which harvest energy from the sun through photosynthesis.
This generates a weak electrical current that interacts with the aluminum electrode and is used to power the microprocessor.
The system consists of inexpensive and recyclable materials. Thus, it can be easily replicated to power many devices within the concept of the Internet of things – a data transmission network between physical objects equipped with built-in tools and technologies for interacting with each other or with the external environment.
Each IoT device consumes only a small amount of power, but the network includes billions of devices, from smartwatches to temperature sensors.
This figure is expected to rise to one trillion devices by 2035, which will require massive amounts of portable power.
Powering them with lithium-ion batteries would be impractical, and indeed impossible, since in this case it would require three times more lithium than is produced annually in the world.
Traditional photovoltaic devices are manufactured using hazardous materials that have adverse effects on the environment and human health.
In the experiment, the new device was used to power Arm Cortex M0+, a microprocessor widely used in IoT devices.
He worked in indoor and semi-outdoor environments with natural light and associated temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
The system does not discharge, as it uses light as an energy source. Although light is required for the light phase of photosynthesis, the device continues to generate power during the hours of darkness when the second, dark phase of photosynthesis takes place.
According to the researchers, their system will be most useful in the absence of mains power or in remote locations where a small amount of power can be very useful.
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