Biomimcry, also known as Biomimetics, is a promising field for renewable energy technologies, as scientists turn to Mother Nature’s designs for tips on how to improve efficiencies in wind, solar, and wave and tidal energy structures.
A research team from Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) studying epidermal cells of rose petals have found their unique design helps each petal absorb light.
The epidermis of a rose petal is comprised of “a disorganized arrangement of densely packed microstructures, with additional ribs formed by randomly positioned nanostructures,” the researchers said. Those structures, which resemble tiny cones, increase the surface area of the petal and allows the petal to absorb more light.
Biomimetics: the epidermis of a rose petal is replicated in a transparent layer which is then integrated into the front of a solar cell. Illustration: Guillaume Gomard, KIT
The researchers were able to apply the rose petal design to solar cells, and saw efficiency increase 12-44%, depending on what angle the light hits the cone structures on the solar panel.