Scientists keep PC on for a year – and rely – on energy generated by algae

The system created would be an inexpensive solution for powering small devices in a “reliable and renewable” way.

A group of scientists from the University of Cambridge has developed a “battery” based on photosynthesis who kept a computer on for a year – and counting. The material for this feeder is a common species of non-toxic blue algae called synechocyst.

The group of researchers claims that it would be a “battery” with the potential to power small devices in a “reliable and renewable” way. The AA battery-sized system was reportedly built with “common, inexpensive and widely recyclable materials” such as aluminum and plastic.

Basically, algae absorb energy from the sun and naturally perform photosynthesis, and the electrical current generated by this process interacts with an aluminum electrode used to power the processor. Researchers aren’t sure exactly what the source of the photosynthetic power is, but one hypothesis is that the cyanobacteria themselves produce electrons, creating the current. During the experiment, the component powered by this system was a microprocessor. M0+ arm cortex – the device was left in a domestic environment and on the bench of the University of Cambridge laboratory, facing a window, during the 2021 confinement due to Covid-19.

To test the battery’s overall capacity, the researchers programmed the computer to run for 45-minute cycles. During these cycles, he calculated sums of consecutive integers to simulate his workload. The machine required about 0.3 microwatts of power during these cycles and then slept for 15 minutes, using about 0.24 microwatts of power.

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“We were impressed with how smoothly the system worked over a long period of time. We thought it might stop after a few weeks, but it kept going.” – Paolo Bombelli, representative of the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Cambridge.

“We were impressed with how smoothly the system worked over a long period of time. We thought it might stop after a few weeks, but it kept going.” – Paolo Bombelli, representative of the Department of Biochemistry of the University of Cambridge.

Also according to the scientists, this would be a possible solution in remote places or to create an “Internet of Things bubble” thanks to small devices. Of course, we still have to dive into research to find out how far this photosynthetic system can be expanded, but the possibilities would be promising for the next five years. The results of the experiment were released after six months of continuous power generation, but they say the system is still operational.

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Going through: Tilt UOL, Innovation and technology, BGR

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