The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown.
A team of experts from the University of Exeter has examined new techniques for generating photovoltaic (PV) energy – or ways in which to convert light into power.
They showed that by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent.
Crucially, by replicating this ‘wing-like’ structure, the power-to-weight ratio of the overall solar energy structure is increased 17-fold, making it vastly more efficient.
The research by the team from both the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, is published in the leading scientific journal, Scientific Reports.
Professor Tapas Mallick, lead author of the research said: “Biomimicry in engineering is not new. However, this truly multidisciplinary research shows pathways to develop low cost solar power that have not been done before.”
The Cabbage White butterflies are known to take flight before other butterflies on cloudy days – which limit how quickly the insects can use the energy from the sun to heat their flight muscles.
This ability is thought to be due to the v-shaped posturing, known as reflectance basking, they adopt on such days to maximise the concentration of solar energy onto their thorax, which allows for flight.
Furthermore, specific sub-structures of the butterflies’ wings allow the light from the sun to be reflected most efficiently, ensuring that the flight muscles are warmed to an optimal temperature as quickly as possible.
The team of scientists therefore investigated how to replicate the wings to develop a new, lightweight reflective material that could be used in solar energy production.
The Latest on: Low cost solar power
via Google News
The Latest on: Low cost solar power
- PV Tech Power 20 sheds light on new era of risks and rewards for solar, storageon September 2, 2019 at 5:31 am
What are the challenges still posed for the ‘mainstream’ adoption of cost-effective energy storage technologies in a modern, low-carbon ... revive French solar makers, to the impact of digitalisation ...
- New Tesla patent reveals just how they plan to make their $50/month solar panels profitableon August 27, 2019 at 1:01 pm
We posted earlier that Elon Musk is planning to lease solar panels for extremely low costs in the near future. While the cost of solar panels has plummeted dramatically, we know that the installation ...
- Tesla solar panels also caught fire on an Amazon warehouse, the retail giant said in the wake of Walmart's lawsuiton August 26, 2019 at 7:43 am
Eleven Amazon locations have solar roofs, Tesla said. Now, the retail giant has no further plans for any more.
- Making solar power more accessible to low-income Nevadanson August 26, 2019 at 2:04 am
Those in low-income communities still face barriers accessing solar power, in spite of it being more affordable and prevalent than ever. The average cost of rooftop solar installation runs $10,000 ...
- West Baton Rouge solar plant with 197,000 panels begins construction: Entergy Louisiana to purchase its poweron August 13, 2019 at 9:21 am
Some 197,000 solar panels capable of powering thousands of homes are going ... “Louisiana is undergoing tremendous growth and we need to be ready to deliver low-cost, diverse energy sources to help ...
- Ultra-low solar bid of $0.01997/kWh in the US – not quite so sunnyon August 5, 2019 at 4:07 am
Straight to the point now; the heroic forward march of solar entered into a new trajectory (whether ... of large-scale centralized projects owned by independent power producers shows that low-cost ...
- IIT Hyderabad scientists develop low-cost, eco-friendly solar cells using kumkum dyeon July 29, 2019 at 7:50 am
In a unique and key breakthrough, IIT Hyderabad scientists have developed low-cost and environment friendly solar cells. These solar cells have ... non-toxic and is water-soluble dye that can power a ...
- Kumkum to create green energy! Indian scientists develop low-cost, eco-friendly solar cells using vermilion dyeon July 29, 2019 at 5:35 am
Scientists at IIT Hyderabad have developed low-cost, environment-friendly solar cells by employing an off-the-shelf ... are made up of silicon and can be seen in the various overhead panels and other ...
- New Material Shows Promise for Low-Cost Solar Panels and Other Electronic Deviceson July 16, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Imagine using a simple inkjet printer for printing electronic devices, or painting a solar panel onto a building’s wall. Graduate student Tika Kafle (facing camera) works on the time-resolved ...
- SWEPCO seeks approval for low-cost renewable wind energyon July 15, 2019 at 11:40 am
Southwestern Electric Power Co. on Monday announced plans to add 810 megawatts ... “Our long-range plan moves SWEPCO toward a cleaner energy future with more low-cost, renewable energy as part of our ...
via Bing News