Scientists from Yonsei University in South Korea have pioneered a revolutionary method for electricity production by merging green algae with carbon nanofibers (CNFs). The innovative cellular PV power station aims to propel hydrogen production, opening new avenues for sustainable energy solutions.
The primary goal of this pioneering research is to harness the power of engineered green algae, specifically Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, for efficient hydrogen production. By integrating these algae with carbon nanofibers, the researchers aim to address the challenge of photon-to-electron conversion efficiency and create a scalable solution for clean energy generation.
To overcome the barrier posed by cell walls that inhibit photoelectrons’ movement, scientists ingeniously merged the green algae with carbon nanofibers. These nanofibers act as conduits, guiding photoelectrons from the cell into a buffer solution. This integration achieved an average photon-to-electron conversion efficiency of 0.7%, reaching a peak efficiency of 0.9%. The result: a single alga-CNF cell producing up to 9.5 W.
The developed cellular power stations exhibit a unique advantage – the three-dimensional packing of algae, allowing for efficient energy generation without stringent space requirements. The potential impact extends to powering laptops with a batch the size of a milk carton. The research group aims for a substantial improvement in cost efficiency, making green hydrogen production economically viable.