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Diatoms Solar Panel – A Biofuel Producing Solar Panel

September 22nd, 2009 | 2 Comments | Posted in Algae-Biodiesel, Algae-Fuel-Research

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T. V. Ramachandra, a professor of ecological sciences at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) is working on the project of creating biological solar panel with IISc researchers Durga Mahapatra and Karthick Balasubramanian, along with Richard Gordon, a radiology professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnepeg.

The researchers propose creating a biological solar panel, which will contain diatoms instead of photovoltaic cells. Diatoms would float about in a nutrient-rich water solution and produce oil when exposed to sunlight. Diatoms already secrete silica by exocytosis—a biological process by which cells direct secreted restless leg syndrome material outside the cell walls. If diatoms could be made to similarly secrete the oil they produce, then it could be easily harvested. (Because the oil is used as a reserve nutrient—like fat—diatoms have evolved no mechanism to secrete it.)

Ramachandra insists an advantage of the diatom solar panel is that it can be created and maintained with equipment and methods that are inexpensive. This is different from photovoltaic solar panels, which require sophisticated fabrication facilities. In tropical countries like India with an abundance of sunlight, biofuel-producing solar panels containing local diatoms could be placed in every village. Investigation has shown that diatom oil can be used as biofuel without further processing, says Ramachandra. A further advantage is that diatoms consume carbon dioxide, so the diatom solar panels would be very sustainable.

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2 Responses to “Diatoms Solar Panel – A Biofuel Producing Solar Panel”

  1. solar panels Says:

    Solar systems work when sunlight strikes a solar photovoltaic module and excites electrons trapped in the silicon solar cell. The electrons travel through wires on the back of the solar panel and into your house, to be used immediately or sent to your electric utility.Most places in the high plains have plenty of solar energy available to meet some, or all of your needs. Homes located in areas with ample sunlight, where electricity prices are high, or where access to the electric grid is difficult, unstable or unreliable, are all ideal locations to install solar systems.

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