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The technology offers a way to construct efficient photovoltaic cells

at a cost several hundred times less than conventional silicon based

devices, and with similar or better energy conversion efficiency.

The reactive elements are genetically engineered proteins using

photosynthesis for production of electrical energy.

Solar production of energy is the most convenient form of renewable

clean energy sources. The global market for solar cells was ~ $10.6

B in 2007 with a yearly growth rate of 35%. The current limit to

more widespread use of photovoltaic cells is their low efficiency and

high cost. Conventional silicon based devices have an efficiency of

only 15%, but cost several hundred times more. The production

of the photosynthetic photoactive protein PSI is simple and is

expected to yield 20% efficiency. A further advantage of PSI is its

transparency to infrared radiation obviating the need for expensive

cooling equipment.

We currently have proof-of-concept devices showing that the modified

protein is successfully active in converting photons to electrical energy.

In addition, the protein is able to bond to the electrodes to complete a

circuit. The cost of materials for manufacture is ~$1/m2 as compared

to ~$250/ m2 for conventional silicon based devices.

Our principal researchers:

Professor Chanoch Carmeli, Department of Biochemistry, Tel Aviv

University. Dr. Shachar Richter, Department of Chemistry, Tel Aviv

University. Professor Yossi Rosenwaks, Department of Physical

Electronics, Tel Aviv University. Dr. Itai Carmeli, Department of

Chemistry, Tel Aviv University.




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