Biomimetic files: Cheap Solar Cells Made From Schrimp Cells
photo credit: Queen Mary University of London
Highlight: “Compounds found in the shells of shrimp and other tasty crustaceans have been used to generate electricity in solar cells for the first time.”
Insight: The cost of solar energy has been plunging due to the significant increase in production (due to rising demand) and improvement in the efficiency of processes involved. However, the cost of raw materials (pure silica) that require mining and energy intense expensive treatments in order to achieve the required purification state is still present. Perhaps new generation of solar cells using bio-materials would bring the cost down even more to the point that deployment of solar PV energy would become a highly economically viable option compared to other sources of energy. If such alternative was to become a solution, fisheries already under pressure for food harvest would need to find alternative sustainable solutions to keep up with the demand..
More information at: http://www.iflscience.com/technology/shrimp-shells-solar-cells
What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…