Swedish Algae Factory
Algae-inspired efficiency enhancement for solar cells
Stena Center 1B
Swedish Algae Factory produces an innovative material that boosts the efficiency of solar cells. This material is based on the nanoporous silica shell that surrounds a specific strain of diatom, an algae species that grows well in the bottom of dark and cold Nordic seas. The material is naturally designed to trap light efficiently in order for algae to be able to survive on sunlight in this dark environment.
Solar panels are known to be inefficient. They only transform 15-20 % of the light that hits them into electricity. Since the main cost of solar energy today is no longer related to the cost of the solar cell but rather its installation cost, one of the most reasonable ways to cut the cost of solar energy is by finding a way to enhance the efficiency of the solar cell.
The nanoporous silica shell that surrounds a specific strain of diatom, an algae species that thrive in the bottom of dark, cold Nordic seas, is a material naturally designed to trap light so efficiently that algae can survive on harnessed sunlight in this dark environment. When incorporated into solar cells, the light trapping ability of the solar cell is increased and its efficiency enhanced. The material is produced in a process where wastewater is treated and an organic biomass produced that is able to utilised in a variety of applications beneficial for society.
The value proposition
- Increased efficiency of solar cells,
- Lower cost of energy,
- Environmentally-friendly produced natural nanomaterial.