‘Solar leafs’ outshine panels in UK breakthrough

The new technology eradicates the need for pumps, fans, control units and expensive materials, while also making more clean water and thermal energy

Researchers from Imperial College London have engineered a leaf-like solar design for heightened efficiency.

This photovoltaic leaf (PV-leaf) innovation employs budget-friendly materials, igniting the potential for next-gen renewable solutions.

Experiments reveal PV-leaves generate over 10% extra electricity compared to standard solar panels, which dissipate 70% of solar energy.

Drawing from natural leaf functions, the PV-leaf mimics transpiration – channelling water movement.

Employing natural fibres and hydrogels, it removes solar cell heat affordably, the scientific team has said.

Professor Christos Markides, Head of Clean Energy Processes Laboratory, and author of the study, said: “Implementing this innovative leaf-like design could help expedite the global energy transition while addressing two pressing global challenges: the need for increased energy and freshwater.”

The findings of the research, titled “High-Efficiency Bio-Inspired Hybrid Multi-Generation Photovoltaic Leaf,” have been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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