Diatom Energy – Organic Solar Power from Algae


The photoelectric effect occurs when light particles interact with matter, especially semiconductors like silicon, producing a flow of electrons that can be used as electricity.

I am making power in my backyard with microscopic pond algae. Rather, they are making the power, as I believe they’ve been doing since the Jurassic age, and I am just beginning to gather it, test it, and put it to use. Diatoms are surface phytoplankton (plant-like photosynthetic microbes in the surface of water) that are mostly made of silica (glass). Even though algae is being cultivated for fuel sources lately, this is not that kind of energy. There is no combustion here. The effect I’m observing I believe to be based on quantum physics in the interaction between light and silicon via the photoelectric effect, the same interaction that produces power in conventional solar panels. There is some precedent for this coming from moss – and theoretically any plant can put out energy that can be used to power light-duty applications.

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