Toronto: Researchers have developed micro-photosynthetic cell technology that can harness electrical power from photosynthesis and respiration of blue-green algae.
Both photosynthesis and respiration, which take place in plants cells, involve electron transfer chains.
The main concept in the technology developed by a team led by Muthukumaran Packirisamy from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, involves trapping these electrons that are released by blue-green algae.
The electron transfer chains of photosynthesis and respiration are constructive in harnessing the electrical energy from blue-green algae.
This photosynthetic power cell consists of an anode, cathode and proton exchange membrane.
The anode chamber consists of cyanobacteria and it releases electrons to the electrode surface from a redox agent that is present at the cathode. An external load is connected to extract the electrons.
The fabricated cell could produce an open circuit voltage of 993 mV and a power density of 36.23W/cm2.
The performance of the power cell can be increased by reducing the electrode spacing between the two electrodes of proton exchange membrane and efficient design of the cell.
These micro photosynthetic power cells may entail significant military and wireless applications. They can also be good power sources for Bio micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) devices, the researchers said.
However, challenges still exists for MEMS researchers to fabricate the small scale anode-cathode chambers that are suitable for generating the high current density and high power density from the cell, the researchers said.
The findings were published in the journal TECHNOLOGY.