Scientists at the University of Tel Aviv in Israel claim they have found a way to construct efficient photovoltaic cells costing at least a hundred times less than conventional silicon based devices, and with similar or better energy conversion efficiency.via EETimes and Earth2Tech
The reactive element in the researchers' patent pending device is genetically engineered proteins using photosynthesis for production of electrical energy.
The scientists applied genetic engineering and nanotechnology for the construction of a hybrid nano -- bio, solid state device. According to the researchers, although using photosynthesis for photovoltaic application is not new, their specific technique is the first to enable the production of useful photosynthesis-based photovoltaic cells.
The researchers suggest existing silicon based photovoltaic cells offer low average energy conversion efficiency of 12-14 percent, while their system is capable of efficiencies of about 25 percent.
Larry Loev, director of business development for high technologies at Ramot told EETimes the low cost of the proposed device is based on the low cost of PS I in comparison to silicon. While one square meter of PS I should cost around $1, a similar area made of silicon should cost around $200.
Ramot aims to develop a cost effective device of 10mm X 10mm in size within three years.