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Solar Hornet

solar powered wasp!Sometimes I like to write about topics that are simply cool, green news items and are not specifically helpful or useful. This is one of those times.

Apparently scientists have known for some time that hornets create energy inside their exoskeleton. This was discovered after scientist Jacob Ishay noticed hornets were most active when the sunlight was most intense.

Although it’s not clear why the insects generate the electricity and how they use it, the evidence is clear. The yellow tissue traps the sunlight while the darker tissue converts it to energy. We have seen and studied photovoltaic electricity production in plants and bacteria for some time, but never before in insects.

Although not an exceptionally helpful observation, it could prove useful if we’re somehow able to develop organically growing solar cells. The efficiency of the hornet’s conversion is around .335 % while our current top-producing manufactures cells operate at around 10-11% efficiency.

One connection scientists found was the commonality of the substance melanin which is contained in human skin. In our skin, melanin absorbs sunlight and converts it to heat. Again, this is not a ground-breaking discovery by any means, but scientists can never turn their back on knowledge as we never know what it will lead to in terms of new discoveries. Source

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One comment

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