Scientists make the leaf-inspired solar panels

Credit: Gan Huang

You know how plants soak up the sun’s energy?

Researchers are now making solar panels that work a bit like leaves! By learning from nature, they hope to build a brighter, greener future for everyone.

Solar panels turn sunlight into electricity. But the ones we use today miss out on a lot of the sun’s energy. Imperial’s research team has come up with a new design that looks and works like a leaf.

They call it the “PV-leaf.” This fancy leaf can capture more of the sun’s power, turning over 10% more sunlight into electricity than regular panels!

And there’s another bonus: This leafy panel can make fresh water! If all the future solar panels were made this way, they could produce tons of clean water every year.

How Does the PV-Leaf Work?

Real leaves have a cool trick. They move water from roots to the tip, a bit like how we sweat.

This helps them stay cool. The PV-leaf uses this idea to keep the solar cells from getting too hot, which makes them work better.

To do this, the PV-leaf has parts that act like the veins in a leaf and others that behave like spongy cells. This helps it spread and get rid of the extra heat.

Experts Weigh In Dr. Gan Huang, one of the smart people behind this project, is excited. He thinks this leafy design could make solar panels work better without costing a lot more.

Professor Christos Markides, another genius on the team, believes this new design could be a game-changer. With more energy and clean water, we can take big steps towards a greener future.

In short, by copying how leaves work, these researchers might have found a way to make our world a little sunnier. Nature sure is full of great ideas!

The study was published in Nature Communications.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.