Microalgae convert light into energy several times better than solar panels

Surely many people believe that converting solar energy into electrical energy using solar panels is an exclusively achievement of modern science. But this is not so, because millions of years before the appearance of human civilization, this process was formed and continues to exist in living nature. At the same time, the efficiency of natural "solar panels" is much higher than the most perfect samples created by man.

A team of scientists from the University of Birmingham (UK) has established the ability of fluorescent algae to capture up to 95% of the incoming light. For comparison, the performance of modern solar panels is no more than 10-20%.

Using advanced methods of mass spectrometry, scientists were able to study more deeply two types of microorganisms - red and blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria - ed. Techcult).

The surface of these microalgae is covered with an array of light-harvesting "antennas" - phycobilisomes, which are responsible for converting light into energy. Each antenna is made up of many building blocks. They provide such a high conversion efficiency of light - about 95%.

Due to the complexity of the structure of microalgae, scientists for a long time could not use them in the development of solar panels, however, thanks to the results of recent research, this may change. By identifying the various fragments that make up cyanobacteria, scientists can use this data to develop solar panels with much higher efficiency.