"By taking advantage of a process that is constantly occurring all over the world, we've created a new and scalable technology that could lead to cheaper ways of generating carbon-free energy," said Concordia University researcher Muthukumaran Packirisamy. The process referred to is the electron transfer chain involved in photosynthesis and respiration in blue-green algae, the same process responsible for producing an abundance oxygen in earth's early history.
Published in the journal Technology, the initial study was done on a small scale, with the team developing what they dubbed a "Micro Photosynthetic Power Cell." But with the promising initial results, Packirisamy and his team are looking forward to larger-scale implementations, but are aware of the amount of labor required. "We have a lot of work to do in terms of scaling the power cells to make the project commercial," said Packirisamy.
To give an idea of the project's scale, and their timeline, the current study managed to produce a peak power of 175.37 microwatts, while the team hopes to be able to generate enough electricity to power a cell phone within five years time.