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Bio-based solar cell

Angew. Chem.: RUB researchers generate electricity rather than biomass with photosynthetic proteins - Efficient integration of photosystems 1 and 2 into photovoltaic cell. The team headed by Prof Dr Wolfgang Schuhmann from the Department of Analytical Chemistry and Center for Electrochemical Sciences (CES) and Prof Dr Matthias Rögner from the Department of Plant Biochemistry, published a report.

Isolating and embedding photosystems

In leaves, the photosystems 1 and 2 utilise light energy very efficiently; this is required for converting carbon dioxide into oxygen and biomass. The Bochum researchers’ bio-based solar cell, on the other hand, generates electricity rather than biomass. Prof Rögner’s team isolated the two photosystems from thermophilic cyanobacteria that live in a hot spring in Japan. Because of their habitat and behaviour, their photosystems are much more stable than comparable proteins of species that do not occur under extreme environmental conditions. Prof Schuhmann’s team developed complex electron-conducting materials, so-called redox hydrogels. The researchers embedded the photosystems into these hydrogels in order to connect them to the electrodes of the photovoltaic cells.

 

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