Using photosynthesis for direct electricity production in biological solar panels

2 July 2015
Dr Paulo Bombelli
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Dr Bombelli’s research centres around exploiting photosynthetic processes for the direct generation of electrical power. He has pioneered the development of biological versions of photovoltaic panels, which he calls ‘biophotovoltaic’ (BPV) devices. Collaborations with designers have been established in order to embed BPV technology into everyday items, resulting in the moss table, the moss FM radio and a prototype ‘green bus shelter’ at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. Although these devices have attracted much interest, power densitites are not yet high enough for them to be applicable for largescale power generation. Possible strategies for increasing power output will be discussed.