Researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands plan to develop artificial leaf using nature’s building blocks to harness solar energy even in the worst places.
For the beginning the sunlight must be harvested before to be converted into energy. The researchers claim that the best light-capturers in nature are the chlorosomes of bacteria, that can harvest light particles even when they’re at the ocean bed.
Using modified chlorophyll molecules from Spirulina, the scientists assembled a semi-synthetic model that resembled a bacterial light antenna. Using the most innovative technologies of NMR and x-ray diffraction, they were able to determine the molecular structure of the antenna.
The next step is to convert that sunlight into usable energy. Once developed, the system will be able to harness energy even in shadowed areas.