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The grass could be greener in photovoltaics

A chemistry professor at the University of Toronto is studying ways to make photovoltaic and solar cells mimic nature.


A chemistry professor at the University of Toronto is studying ways to make photovoltaic and solar cells mimic nature.

In an article by Patchen Barss in UofT Magazine, Professor Greg Scholes says, “Current photovoltaic or solar cells are caveman technology compared to any biological system.”

Scholes is working in the field of “quantum biology” which uses quantum mechanics to investigate how biological systems work.

Scholes says that short days or cloud cover can reduce the efficiency of man-made solar collection systems. Plants and local flora, on the other hand, can continually adjust their sunlight receptors to the position or intensity of the sun, in order to maximize photosynthesis.

“I would like to achieve a solar energy harvesting device that is not passive — that on a cloudy day would change how it works,” says Scholes. “If we could do this, it would revolutionize solar harvesting.” The article says that the goal would not be to achieve higher ideal energy conversion rates, but to operate at the ideal rate more of the time.

To read the full article, click here.

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