16 Aug '12, 3pm

Sunflower-Inspired Solar Power Technology Effortlessly Follows the Sun

Sunflower-Inspired Solar Power Technology Effortlessly Follows the Sun

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin Madison have developed a new solar power system that is inspired by the sun-catching behavior of sunflowers and is at least 10 percent more efficient than conventional solar panels. The inspiring behavior is an adaptation called heliotropism -- the tracking of the sun throughout the day by sunflowers and other plants by slowly rotating and positioning each leaf to grab the most sunlight. There are many other solar power systems out there that use GPS and motors to reposition the solar panels throughout the day, but this new system is different because it uses cutting-edge materials to take a more passive approach to catching sunlight. The engineers used a fairly new material called liquid crystalline elastomer (LCE) that contracts when exposed to heat. Coupled with carbon nanotubes that are able to absorb a wide range of light wav...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/sunflower-insp...

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