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PERSPECTIVES

Algae-based solar panels put the green in green energy



Mexican biotechnologist Adán Ramirez Sánchez has developed a solar panel technology that promises to make the solar panels of the future greener (literally) and more efficient than those currently used today, according to an article in Optimistdaily.com.

 

QUICK TAKES

  • A study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that, on average, solar increased the value of a home by about $15,000. (energy.gov)

  • On average, US customers save about $1,500 a year by going solar – $37,500 over the course of 25 years, with individual savings ranging from $10,000 to $90,000. (greenlancer.com)

  • Solar accounted for 50% of all new electricity-generating capacity added in the U.S. in Q1/2022. (SEIA)

 

Called Intelligent Solar Biopanels, Sánchez’s technology takes advantage of the characteristics of both microalgae and carbon nanoparticles, enabling the panels to generate clean energy and oxygen while absorbing carbon dioxide. Essentially, the process uses photosynthesis to provide a double-edged environmental solution: purifying the air while generating clean electricity.

Both aesthetically pleasing and practical, the green, semi-transparent triangular biopanels can be placed on almost any surface that gets sun exposure, including windows, walls, and roofs. According to GreenFluidics, the company behind the technology’s manufacturing, the panels could even be used to make works of art.

The company claims that each of its panels can generate 328 KWh/m2 of energy per year while also saving 90 KWh/m2 of energy by holding the heat during colder weather. During summer, the same panels can offer a shaded effect and keep the interiors cooler.

“Our patented technology, the Intelligent Solar Biopanel, is the only multipurpose system in the world based on microalgae and nanotechnology that allows you to save energy and provides well-being and health to your occupants, [while] giving a unique and avant-garde design to your buildings,” says the company’s website.

What’s also worth noting is that, compared to conventional solar panels that are typically carted to a landfill at the end of their life, the Biopanels are entirely biodegradable and are made from a widely available renewable marine resource.