Waste blood from slaughterhouses that
usually goes down the drain, rotten fruits that you normally dump in kitchen
dustbins and shredded leaves that remain scattered on the roads during winter
could be used to light up your house, run a fan to keep you cool in summer, or
even charge your mobile phones when there is a power cut.
Scientists of the SN Bose National Centre
for Basic Sciences in Salt Lake City have made a breakthrough in technology by
which they have manufactured solar panels from a component extracted from waste
blood of slaughterhouses.
power from blood
Blood has a component, haematoporphyrin
that has been employed by the experts to create the technology. It is found abundantly
in the blood of animals. And very similar compounds are also found in leaves
and fruits, such as pumpkin and papaya.
The cost of solar panels forms a
substantial part of the ‘power from solar technology’. This breakthrough can
drive down the cost of solar panels drastically; it may even phase out thermal
power plants in future.
There are other advantages, too. First, it
is much cheaper that its silicon counterpart. While the cost of silicon-based
cells is usually around $350 per square metre, a blood-based cell would cost a
mere $10 per square metre.
dependence on thermal power
Scientists are now working to bring about
certain improvements where they think the new device is still lagging. “Our
panel could use only 2% of the energy from the sun rays that fell on it. Solar
cells can convert 24%. We hope to achieve at least 7% efficiency very soon. We
can reach around 86%,” Professor Pal added.
But how abundant is the chemical that has
triggered the technology? An adult human contains trillions of red blood cells
and each RBC contains an abundance of haemoglobin.
Each haemoglobin molecule contains four
units of haematoporphyrin. In animal blood, the prevalence is equal, or more.
Scientists are yet to find out the count of the chemical and its variants in
fruits and leaves.