Swedish researchers have devised a way to turn bioluminescent jellyfish into solar cells. It works like this: the green fluorescent protein (GFP) that makes the Aequorea victoria glow is simply dripped onto a silicon dioxide substrate between two electrodes. The protein works itself into strands between the electrodes. When ultraviolet light is shined on the circuit, voila, the GFP absorbs photons and emits electrons, generating a current.
As much as Inhabitat is skeptical about using animals as raw materials, this is an intriguing discovery because jellyfish are increasingly overpopulating the oceans as the waters become too toxic and acidified for more delicate species to bear. Using them to create carbon-neutral energy could potentially help restore the oceans to balance.
The GFP-powered cells work like dye-sensitized solar cells, but don’t require expensive materials such as titanium dioxide.
Via New Scientist and PopSci
Lead Photo © Ryan Kozie