What's new
US Message Board - Political Discussion Forum

This is a sample guest message. Register a free account today to become a member! Once signed in, you'll be able to participate on this site by adding your own topics and posts, as well as connect with other members through your own private inbox!

Bio-tech, nano-tech, and solar

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
Can Algae Increase Solar Cell Efficiency? | Solar Power - PV Panels

Researchers at Oregon State University and Portland State University have discovered a way to use algae to increase solar cell efficiency. Using microscopic algae called diatoms, dye-sensitized solar cells can produce triple the electrical output of ordinary solar cells.

When specially-engineered diatoms are used in the production of thin film solar cells, light is captured inside the nano-scale pores of the cells. As a result, incident photons are trapped: electricity generation and efficiency are thus increased.

OSU professor Greg Rorrer stated:

“In our system, photons bounce around inside pores formed from diatom shells making them three times more efficient.”
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
In the National Geographic article, they stated that the diatoms were biologically engineered to include certain rare earth elements in the construction of their shells. Seems to be an ongoing fascination because of the variety of the microtubal forms within the shells

http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20070039073_2007037049.pdf

ABSTRACT
The worldwide effort to grow nanotechnology, rather than use lithography, focuses on diatoms, single cell eukaryotic algae with ornate silica shells, which can be replaced by oxides and ceramics, or reduced to elemental silicon, to create complex nanostructures with compositions Of industrial and electronics importance. Diatoms produce an enormous variety of structures, some of which are microtubule dependent and perhaps sensitive to microgravity. The NASA Single Loop for Cell Culture (SLCC) for culturing and observing microorganisms permits inexpensive, low labor inspace
experiments. We propose to send up to the International Space Station diatom cultures of the three diatom species whose genomes are being sequenced, plus the giant diatoms of Antarctica (up to 2 mm diameter for a single cell) and the unique colonial diatom, Bacillaria paradoxa. Bacillaria cells move against each other in partial synchrony, like a sliding deck of cards, by a microfluidics mechanism. Will normal diatoms have aberrant pattern and shape or motility compared to ground controls? The generation time is typically one day, so that many generations may be examined from one flight. Rapid, directed evolution may be possible running the SLCC as a compustat. The shell shapes and
patterns are preserved in hard silica, so that the progress of normal and aberrant morphogenesis may be followed by drying samples on a moving filter paper "diatom tape recorder". With a biodiversi .ty of 100,000 distinct species, diatom nanotechnology may offer a compact and portable nanotechnology toolkit for exploration anywhere.
 

Mr. H.

Diamond Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
44,171
Reaction score
9,811
Points
2,030
Location
A warm place with no memory.
Thanks for that. Kind of hard for me to follow. I googled images and yeah there's all sorts of shapes. So is the above article alluding to the advantage of certain shaped diatoms over others?
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
Like WOW! Seems that these little plant (?) have a real future.

From Solar Panel To Bio-panel, Going Green With Algae. | Energy | The Earth Times

In India, scientists are experimenting with the creation of biofuel from genetically engineered diatoms, a type of single-celled algae. This microscopic organism is often visible as the green coating on rocks in rivers and lakes. Diatoms are also found in our oceans in the form of phytoplankton.

What is most significant about diatoms is that every cell contains oil droplets, manufactured by the organism as an emergency food source. This oil can make up as much as a quarter of each cell and analysis has shown that the oil makes a very good biofuel. What's more, while the diatoms produce oil, they absorb carbon dioxide, making the whole process an environmental no-brainer.

T.V. Ramachandra is a professor of ecological sciences at the Indian Institute of Sciences and believes that the potential for diatom biofuel is massive.

‘Diatom cultivation could produce from 10 to 200 times as much oil as that produced by soybean cultivation.’

It’s an impressive statistic but one that has been confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s Aquatic Species Program. But what makes Professor Ramachandra's research even more intriguing is his proposal to develop a biological solar panel containing diatoms instead of photovoltaic cells. The theory is the cells would float in nutrient rich water and produce oil on exposure to sunlight.

The obstacle at the moment, says Ramachandra, is convincing the diatoms to release their oil by exocytosis, the method by which they already release silica. However, he believes this is achievable by genetic modification.

If he's successful, then a solar bio-panel for the production of oil could be a reality within a couple of years.
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
With about 100,000 known species with all differant shapes and sizes, the diatoms seem to have something for everybody.
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
Some great pictures and diagrams here.

Greg Rorrer | <none> | Oregon State University

Research Areas

Current research in the Rorrer Laboratory focuses on two areas: algal biotechnology, and biomass conversion. In the algal biotechnology area, we are harnessing the unique biosynthetic capacities of photosynthetic marine algae in engineered bioreactor platforms for applications in pharmaceutical production, nanotechnology, bioremediation of toxic compounds, and biofuels production. Two current projects are highlighted below.

Algal biotechnology for nanostructured semiconductor materials. Single-celled, biomineralizing algae called &#8220;diatoms&#8221; consume soluble silicon to make microscopic silica shells which are ornately patterned in the nanoscale (1-100 nm range). By controlled feeding of alternative substrates such as soluble germanium or titanium to the living diatom cells, we metabolically inserted semiconductor nanophases into the periodic structures of the diatom biosilica. This process imparted optoelectronic properties to diatom microshell.
 

whitehall

Diamond Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2010
Messages
48,845
Reaction score
12,378
Points
2,190
Location
Western Va.
"Incident photons are trapped". Too bad we can't trap a few professors who make a living from bull shitting the government into granting them the equivlant of a Lexus every cycle.
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
More technical babble.

ProQuest Document View - Biological insertion of nanostructured germanium and titanium oxides into diatom biosilica

Biological insertion of nanostructured germanium and titanium oxides into diatom biosilica
by Jeffryes, Clayton S., Ph.D., OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY, 2009, 271 pages; 3385607

Abstract:

There is significant interest in titanium oxide and germanium-silicon oxide nanocomposites for optoelectronic, photocatalytic, and solar cell applications. The ability of the marine diatom Pinnularia sp. to uptake soluble metal oxides from cell culture medium, and incorporate them into the micro- and nano-structure of their amorphous silica cell walls, called frustules, was evaluated using an engineered photobioreactor system. The effects of metal oxides on the structural and elemental properties of the frustule were also evaluated. Diatom cell cultures grown in 5 L photobioreactors were initially charged with 0.5 mM of soluble silicon, Si(OH)4 , an obligate substrate required for frustule fomation. Upon exhaustion of Si(OH)4 cells were exposed to the mixed pulse-addition of soluble silicon and germanium or co-perfusion addition of soluble silicon and titanium, which were incorporated into the frustules. Metals composition of the cell culture medium, diatom biomass and purified frustules were measured, as was the local elemental composition within the frustule pores and the metal oxide crystallinity.

Diatom frustules having a germanium composition of 1.6 wt % were devoid of the native intra-pore structures and possessed enhanced photoluminescence and electroluminescence when compared to frustules without Ge. Diatoms cultivated in the presence of soluble titanium incorporated amorphous titania into the frustule, which maintained native structure even when local TiO2 concentrations within the nanopores approached 60 wt. %. Titanium oxide could also be biomimetically deposited directly within the diatom nanopores by adsorbing poly-L-lysine to the diatom biosilica where it catalyzed the soluble titanium precursor Ti-BALDH into amorphous titania nanoparticles. Both biogenic and biomimetic titania could be converted to anatase titanium by thermal annealing. It was determined that nanostructured metal oxide composites can be fabricated biomimetically or in cell culture to possess properties which may be useful in display or solar cell applications
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
"Incident photons are trapped". Too bad we can't trap a few professors who make a living from bull shitting the government into granting them the equivlant of a Lexus every cycle.

Too bad there is no market for willfull ignorance.
 

Mr. H.

Diamond Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
44,171
Reaction score
9,811
Points
2,030
Location
A warm place with no memory.
Well, I know I've railed on the grants/loans/subsidies regarding solar and biofuels and I'm still opposed to such support with respect to manufacturing and marketing, but this science is astounding. :thup:
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
Yep. Some real useful research. Once the potential is established and the basic science explored, time for the entrepenuers to move in and make the bucks, as well as making our lives better.

Exxon-Mobile is already investing some big bucks in this research.
 
OP
O

Old Rocks

Diamond Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2008
Messages
59,931
Reaction score
7,718
Points
1,840
Location
Portland, Ore.
Yep. Once they got over the mind set that they were 'oil' corperations, and started operating from the viewpoint that they are 'energy' corperations, they are becoming drivers in the alternative field.
 

American Horse

AKA "Mustang"
Joined
Jan 23, 2009
Messages
5,746
Reaction score
908
Points
153
Location
The Hoosier Heartland
I'm not going to pretend to understand all that; one thing I do understand is that the photovoltaic generation of electricity is not the problem. The problem is storing all that potential energy. It does seem to me that if we can optimize it sufficiently, we could move those cells into geosynchronous orbit where the sun always shines, generate it and beam it down to earth. That would be the full utilization of the energy we need.
 
Last edited:

Mr. H.

Diamond Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2009
Messages
44,171
Reaction score
9,811
Points
2,030
Location
A warm place with no memory.
I'm not going to pretend to understand all that; one thing I do understand us that the photovoltaic generation of electricity is not the problem. The problem is storing all that potential energy. It does seem to me that if we can optimize it sufficiently, we could move those cells into geosynchronous orbit where the sun always shines, generate it and beam it down to earth. That would be the full utilization of the energy we need.

What ever happened to that "space ladder" concept? I think it consists of a carbon nano-tube extending from earth's surface out into space.
 

USMB Server Goals

Total amount
$280.00
Goal
$350.00

Most reactions - Past 7 days

Forum List

Top