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Source: Pixabay

Scientists Print Living Solar Cells That Retain Energy On Paper

By Brian Spaen

Solar panels are a great renewable power source for homes and office buildings, but they can be overkill for smaller devices. Wearables and clothing can benefit more from kinetic energy, and we’ve seen carbon nanotubes in yarn being stretched out to produce electricity. That same material has now been used with cyanobacteria to create micro-solar panels.

Scientists have been studying the energy potential of cyanobacteria for a few years now. They create their own food through photosynthesis, which is able to absorb solar power and hold an electrical charge. Back in 2015, scientists in Canada were researching blue-green algae, which is created from cyanobacteria, that could potentially replace batteries for smaller devices.

While it may not be enough to hold a significant charge on our smartphones, European scientists from Imperial College London, University of Cambridge, and Central Saint Martins have been able to create a battery and bio-solar panel with cyanobacteria. They’re still alive after being printed with carbon nanotubes on a piece of paper using an inkjet printer.