Jambul berries, known in India as the fruit of the gods, may hold the key to a new generation of cheaper and more environmentally friendly solar panels. The secret of these systems is that, Instead of using silicon, they would use the natural pigments that these fruits contain for its ability to absorb solar energy. With a huge availability of jambul fruit and an ease in extracting the pigment, the challenge now is to improve the efficiency of these panels, which to date stood at 0.5%, still far from the average of 15% for conventional panels.
A team of researchers from the Roorkee Institute of Technology are working on this possibility, which was opened after an investigation to find the reasons why jambul is black will lead them to discover the properties to capture solar energy of the anthocyanins contained in this fruit and many others, such as grapes, blueberries, cherries or raspberries, among others.
After extracting the anthocyanins with ethanol, one of the usual methods, three researchers from the aforementioned research center used this pigment in dye solar cells, called DSSC (Dye Sensitized Solar Cells).
Specifically, the researchers used natural juices extracted from various fruits in addition to jambul, including plums, berries and currant currants. The best results were obtained with the pigments obtained from currants and a mixture of berries. which, so far, have given a yield of 0.55 and 0.53%.
“The availability of these fruits and juices, the high concentration of anthocyanins they contain and the ease of extracting the dyes make these fruits a new way to make cheaper solar cells“, underline the promoters of this initiative, which could give the definitive impetus to India so that it advances towards its objective of 2030, whereas it hopes to derive 40% of its energy from renewable energies. In addition, according to scientists, the proposal has more advantages. Be non-toxic and biodegradable, Anthocyanins are not only more affordable, they are also more environmentally friendly by making unnecessary the use of synthetic dyes for solar panels.
More information in Journal of Photovoltaics.