Scientists at the University of Cambridge has developed a novel design of algae-powered fuel cells, which is almost 5-times more effective than the current plant and algal models. These fuel cells are potentially more practical for utilization and cost-efficient in terms of production. With the constantly increasing global population, the demand for energy is rising across the world.
The climate change threat is pointing towards an urgent need to discover cleaner, greener, and renewable alternatives to fossil fuels, with visibly lesser emission of greenhouse gases that have potentially distressing significances on the earth ecosystem. The solar power is expected to be a predominantly lucrative source of energy as, on an average, the Earth receives nearly ten thousand times more energy from the sun in any given time than what is needed for human consumption.
Over the last few years, biophotovoltaics or biological solar-cells, along with synthetic photovoltaic devices, have surfaced as a low-cost and eco-friendly approach for harvesting solar energy and transforming it into electrical current. These cells use the photosynthetic properties of several microorganisms, such as algae, to convert light energy into electric current, which can be utilized to provide electricity.
Algae discharge electrons during the process of photosynthesis. Some of the electrons are then transferred outside the cell to offer electric current to power devices. Hitherto, all biophotovoltaics demonstrated have positioned charging (electron generation and light harvesting) and power delivery in a single compartment. The electrons start generating current as soon as they have been discharged.