New Studies have found that Purple Pokeberries Hold Secret to Affordable Solar Power Worldwide.
Nanotech Center scientists have used the red dye made from pokeberries to coat their efficient and inexpensive fiber-based solar cells. The dye acts as an absorber, helping the cell’s tiny fibers trap more sunlight to convert into power.
Pokeberries proliferate even during drought and in rocky, infertile soil. That means residents of rural Africa, for instance, could raise the plants for pennies. Then they could make the dye absorber for the extremely efficient fiber cells and provide energy where power lines don’t run, said David Carroll, Ph.D., the center’s director.
To make the cells, the plastic fibers are stamped onto plastic sheets, with the same technology used to attach the tops of soft-drink cans. The absorber — either a polymer or a less-expensive dye — is sprayed on. The plastic makes the cells lightweight and flexible, so a manufacturer could roll them up and ship them cheaply to developing countries — to power a medical clinic, for instance.
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