AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Single Molecule Solar Cell

Photo by Vermont-USA Anna Strumillo

In a recent study, German scientists Joachim Reichert, Johannes Barth, Alexander Holleitner, and Itai Carmeli came up with a way to measure photocurrents of a single functionalized  photosynthetic protein system.

What does this mean exactly?

These proteins can be used like electron pumps that can trap energy from the light and use it to power certain nanoscale electrocal circuits.

These scientists studied Photosystem 1 and like plants use photosynthesis to take rays of light and convert them to energy, these proteins covert solar rays into chemical energy that can be used in much the same way.

This discovery is still in its early stages and if perfected can be life changing. If they can create this system on a larger scale, light would be much easier to trap and use as energy than todays solar panels. This discovery is very interesting because we need alternative sources of energy that can be used sooner rather than later. If we can perfect this method it can be very beneficial to this planet because it is not harmful to the environment.

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  1. inewitt

    This is a good read jcfitzy. One of the biggest problems with harnessing solar energy is finding an efficient way to store it for use on cloudy days. Perhaps this or another biological study can find a way to store the energy harnessed more efficiently, as current methods involve lots of expensive equipment, like batteries.

  2. rawgdog

    Cool post jcfitzy! Your post reminded me a lot of an article I read about weird energy sources. Namely pig manure! Yup, you read it right. A farmer in North Carolina is powering his 154 acre farm by manure emissions from his 9,000 hogs. Not only is the methane gas from the emissions recycled into electricity, but the 400,000 gallons of waste per-week are being transformed into fertilizer. What I found really astonishing was that according to NC law, by 2018, 0.2% of electricity must be derived from hog waste, which is the same percentage for solar power!

  3. troybolton

    This is interesting. I completely agree with the fact that we need to put more time and effort into projects like this so we can find a cleaner source of energy to fuel the world. While oil does have its benefits, situations like the Gulf oil spill leaked over 5 million gallons of oil over the course of weeks. An advancement in solar power would really help the world and why not look for innovation where photosynthesis has been going on for millions of years? Biology! I think this is the first place that we need to start looking.
    Good read!

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