This system is just proof of concept, but its creators hope chip algae-powered devices could be used in future Internet of Things devices. They say the advantage of using algae over traditional batteries or solar power is that it has less environmental impact and has the potential to provide sustainable power.
“The evolving Internet of Things requires increased power, and we think this should come from systems that can generate energy, rather than just storing it like batteries,” Professor Christopher Howe, co-senior author of the paper, said in a press statement. The Verge, Tuesday (17/5/2022).
“Our photosynthesis device does not run like a battery because it continues to use light as an energy source,” he said.
Chip Algae powered ARM is used to perform very basic calculations. Chip it consumes a tiny 0.3 microwatts per hour.
Although energy use computer normal varies based on factors such as workload and age, this is the electricity required to run the average PC. If a typical desktop computer were to consume, say, 100 watts of power per hour, you would need about 333,000 algae “batteries” to run.
Scientists say that the basic attribution of algae power generation is encouraging. The algae they use do not need to be fed.
Algae can collect all of its energy needs from natural sunlight. Algae are able to continuously generate power at night based on the energy stored during the day.
“We were impressed with how consistently this system worked over a long period of time. We thought it might stop after a few weeks, but it kept going,” said Dr. Paolo Bombelli, the paper’s first author, said in a press statement.
While using algae in this way is clearly unusual, it is also part of a growing area of research known as biophotocatalysis. The aim of this field is to harness the power generated by biological microorganisms that naturally convert light into electricity through photosynthesis.
Although this process is highly inefficient, with plants absorbing only 0.25 percent of the sun’s energy (compared to 20 percent absorbed in solar panels), proponents say biophotocalolate energy systems can be cheap to produce and environmentally friendly.