Jellyfish for the Environment
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Researchers of Sweden have used animal protein to develop solar energy giving rise to a revolutionizing technical development that can bring in a new era of inexpensive photovoltaic cells. With this in market, more people can harness solar energy. The numbers have been low due to the high cost of solar panels along with the setting up costs.
Researchers have been able to extract Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) from luminous jellyfish protein. This is placed between electrodes and a small solar cell is made. On the top of this arrangement, they put a drop of that jellyfish protein. This makes strands between the electrodes. As this arrangement is exposed to UV light, the protein starts absorbing it, and it pushes out electrons. Electrons are responsible for generation of electricity. This is why the cell created this way is quite an effective one and is almost like a mini photovoltaic device that is fully functioning.
This technique of harnessing solar energy using jellyfish is created and used by a group at the Gothenburg’s Chalmers University. This group is headed by Zackary Chiragwandi. Comparing to the regular silicon solar cell, GFP cell gives electricity at much lower expense, because when they use natural substances, they don’t need to use titanium dioxide, an expensive material.
And even if this product does not find a good place in the world market, it would certainly open doors of innovative thinking. A same type of product is being developed in the United Kingdom, except that they use algae instead of jellyfish. Algae are a good source of photosynthetic process being carried out in labs.
This research involving jellyfish is a great way to generate electricity, as there is an abundance of jellyfish in the seas, and it is best that we put them to good use. I wrote two posts on eating them. Converting them into electricity is even better. Let’s wait for some other experiments that might bring new possibilities into the world of ocean sciences.