Powering A Microprocessor By Photosynthesis: The energy industry is constantly evolving, sometimes with surprising results. As today’s energy resources dwindle, humanity has been pushed to the forefront of finding new and reliable sources of sustainable living as we know it today. One of the most promising developments is the effort to renew the use of solar energy. But there are limitations and solar energy must be supplemented by other sources. Researchers at the University of Cambridge in the UK have used algae to find the answer. They powered the microprocessor for more than six months using nothing but a normal type of cyanobacteria, known as cyanocystis.
The researchers say their system has the potential to be a reliable and regenerative way to power small devices. The non-toxic alga cynocystis naturally obtains energy from the sun through photosynthesis. The small amount of electric current generated during the process interacts with the aluminum electrodes and is used to power the microprocessor.
The system uses inexpensive and highly recyclable materials, the researchers said in a statement, which could easily be repeated hundreds of thousands of times to power a large number of small devices. This is especially useful in remote areas.
Cambridge Professor Christopher Howe, one of the study’s senior authors, said the evolving Internet of Things required increased energy to come from systems that could generate energy, rather than store it. “Our photosynthetic device doesn’t work like a battery because it constantly uses light as an energy source,” he added.
But if there is no sunlight for a long time – in the polar regions or in the harsh winter? The researchers say that the device, which generates current as a result of photosynthesis, can continue to produce energy during the dark, because the algae process its food to some extent in the absence of light. The study was published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.