Spinach helps boosts solar efficiency

You would associate spinach with Popeye the Sailor Man but it seems the vegetable can now work wonders for solar energy too. US scientists at Vanderbilt University discovered that combining […]

By Priyanka Shrestha

You would associate spinach with Popeye the Sailor Man but it seems the vegetable can now work wonders for solar energy too.

US scientists at Vanderbilt University discovered that combining spinach with silicon, which is the material used in solar cells, produced 2.5 times more electrical current than existing solar cells.

They used the photosynthetic protein in the spinach, which converts light into energy to make the plants grow.

David Cliffel, Associate Professor of Chemistry who worked on the project said: “This combination produces current levels almost 1,000 times higher than we were able to achieve by depositing the protein on various types of metals. It also produces a modest increase in voltage. If we can continue on our current trajectory of increasing voltage and current levels, we could reach the range of mature solar conversion technologies in three years.”

The researchers are now working on a larger prototype panel of the cells that could be used to power small electronics.

Latest Podcast