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En passant

Life from light and water
Chlorophyll – pigment and energy converter

A May-green deciduous forest or a spring-green meadow are a feast for the eyes – and luscious green growth is also a symbol for unleashed vitality.

Each green leaf is a miracle of nature that captures sunlight and converts it into energy. It uses the captured light to produce carbohydrates from water and CO2. Each plant releases oxygen and uses sugar and starch to produce energy, provisions and building materials.

Algae and green plants have known how to do it since time immemorial: they convert sunlight into available energy and produce oxygen as a byproduct. The central building block for this miracle of nature is chlorophyll. This green pigment captures the light and concentrates it in active recipient cells. The absorbed light is then converted into chemical energy (in a redox reaction). The generated energy-rich organic compounds provide a source of energy and are used for plant growth. Thus photosynthesis therefore ensures that energy and components are continually supplied for all life on the planet.

This concept for generating energy from sunlight – namely capturing radiation, concentrating it and utilising the generated energy gradient – is pursued in photovoltaic energy generation by technical means. With its organic dyes, organic photovoltaics is very closely based on the pigment molecules used in photosynthesis and has already exceeded its effectiveness with 8% compared with 2%.


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