Peas are tasty, sure, but they might also play an important role in our energy future. Researchers from Tel Aviv University’s Department of Biochemistry have discovered that tiny crystals found in peas could one day be used as battery chargers or even as the core of efficient artificial solar cells.

The Photosystem I (PSI) complex is responsible for photosynthesis of light energy into other types of energy–i.e. chemical energy. The Tel Aviv researchers realized that this complex, which is packed into crystals found in peas, could potentially turn light energy into electricity.

Upon testing out the theory, the Tel Aviv University team realized they were right–placing the crystals on gold covered plates yielded a charge of 10 volts. That’s not much solar power, but it’s enough that it could be useful in, say, low-energy power switches. So the next time you open up a pea pod, take a moment to think about all the precious energy potential stuffed inside.

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Via ScienceDaily