January 1, 2011.
With the increasing demand for renewable energy resources, photovoltaic (PV) technologies are being rapidly developed. These technologies include methods of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into usable energy, commonly using solar panels. However, to generate enough energy to meet the world’s electricity demands, it may be required that PV solar farms are installed in agricultural and desert areas, competing with food production, crops for biofuels, and/or the conservation of desert ecosystems. High efficiency solar cells may help with the land-use issues, but they are hard to manufacture at low costs.
This study proposes the solution of enabling wide scale development of low cost photovoltaic cell technology that can coexist on land used for algal biofuel. To do this, we compared the growth (optical density and chlorophyll a extraction per cell) and photosynthetic behavior (O2 production) of different types of algae by exposing them to increasing intensities of light filtered through pink waveshifting photovoltaic (WSPV) polymer sheets. The sheets selectively absorb wavelengths between 400 and 600nm, allowing wavelengths above 600 to pass though. We will see how green algae grow under these conditions, and ultimately collect the unused light and convert it into electricity by the low cost polymer sheets.
NASA Ames Research Center (ARC)
This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation.