Scientists create bacteria-powered solar panel

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Researchers at Binghamton University have come up with an interesting way to harness energy, using a resource we have far too much of — bacteria.

Science Daily reports that to harness power from bacteria, scientists arranged nine bio-solar cells in a 3-by-3 pattern to form a scalable and stackable panel.

The cells use cyanobacteria, which can be found in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, as a source of clean and sustainable energy.

In the daytime, light energy absorbed by the panel causes oxygen and electrons to be released through photosynthetic reactions. When conditions are darker and no sunlight is available, the bacteria’s respiratory activities produce electrons.

5.59 microwatts were generated in 12-hour day to night cycles over a total of 60 hours.

Solar panels using a 6-by-10 configuration produce about 200 watts at a given moment. The bio-solar cells, in the same pattern, will only generate 0.00003726 watts.

The technology is not the most efficient, but with further development, it has the potential to be a more reliable energy source. Once the panel becomes functional, it could power small, wireless systems in remote areas where frequent battery changes are impractical.

The findings were reported in the paper "Biopower generation in a microfluidic bio-solar panel” which was published in the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Panel made out of 3x3 bio-solar cells
2. Bio-solar cells contain cyanobacteria
3. Energy produced through photosynthetic reactions and bacteria respiration
4. Experiment generated 5.59 microwatts
5. Difference in power generation between solar panels and bio-solar panel
6. Potential use for the bio-solar panel

VOICEOVER (in English):

“To harness power from bacteria, scientists arranged nine bio-solar cells in a 3-by-3 pattern to form a scalable and stackable panel.”

“The cells use cyanobacteria, which can be found in aquatic and terrestrial habitats, as a source of clean and sustainable energy.”

“In the daytime, oxygen and electrons are released through photosynthetic reactions. At night, electrons are produced from the bacteria’s respiratory activities.”

“5.59 microwatts were generated in 12-hour day to night cycles over a total of 60 hours.”

“Solar panels produce about 200 watts in a 6-by-10 configuration. The bio-solar cells, in the same pattern, will only generate 3.726 one hundred-thousandth watts.”

“Once the panel is functional, it could power small, wireless systems in remote areas where frequent battery changes are impractical.”

SOURCES:
Energy Harvesting Journal, Science Daily, Binghamton University
http://www.energyharvestingjournal.com/articles/9335/bacteria-powered-solar-panel-generates-clean-energy
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160411152653.htm
http://www.ws.binghamton.edu/choi/Bio-solar%20cells.html