Professor Young-seok Song (Fiber Systems Engineering) used algae to develop a photosynthetic cell battery with nearly 20 times higher efficiency than before.
His study, entitled “A broadband multiplex living solar cell” with corresponding author Young-seok Song, was recently published. Recognized for its excellence, Professor Song’s research was published in the online edition of Nano Letters (impact factor: 12.279), an international scientific journal for nanoscience and nanotechnology, and was also introduced on the cover of its print edition.
Sunlight absorbed by algae drifting on water surfaces is an excellent source of electric energy. Placing algae in a photosynthetic electron extraction system can convert solar energy into electric power. The electric power extracted from algae this way is globally in the spotlight as a sustainable and eco-friendly energy source with various studies currently underway; however, most studies have been limited to low energy efficiency and certain visible wavelengths.
Professor Song used gold nanoparticles and zinc oxide nanorods to develop a ‘hybrid nanostructure.’ Combined with the photosynthetic electron extraction system based on cyanobacteria, Song succeeded in extracting energy with around 17 times more density in wider bands than existing plant cells. “Various technologies such as nanotechnology, optical technology, biotechnology and energy converged to develop a high-density energy cell system that works in broadband,” explained professor Song who also added that “even though it may not be commercialized immediately, [I am] looking forward to this study serving as a foundation for research in developing technology for photovoltaic conversions.”
This study was carried out with the support of the National Research Foundation of Korea and the Gyeonggi Regional Research Center (GRRC).