Ames researcher microbiologists (Bebout Exobiology lab) have successfully completed first phase assessment of a UC Santa Cruz developed technology “wave selective photovoltaics.” Using an led solar simulator and greenhouse rooftop facilities atop B239, tests were run on five commercially important algal strains (which are also of interest for space missions). Results showed that all strains performed as well or better, with the selective removal of 1/3 of the incoming visible solar irradiance to be re-routed to photovoltaics for energy production.
A synopsis of larger project and the UCSC-Ames collaboration was the cover story in August 7 edition of “Santa Cruz Weekly” and was also picked up by the online journal “Algae Industry Magazine”. The article highlights the cost effectiveness of the WSPV technology for California agriculture. Based on interview with the Ames collaborators, the article also cites the potential of this technology for commercial algal and space applications for both algae and plants. Further developments towards space applications goal have been conducted through the auspices of Ames CIF funding (Lunar Plants), demonstrating that in addition to visible light, ultraviolet wavelengths could also be absorbed and converted to blue light for algal growth or energy production in space platforms.
The Ames work will be presented at the Algal Biomass Organization Summit at the end of September and a manuscript is in preparation. PIs are further looking for opportunities to develop this technology for space and green applications.
Story links can be found at