The delicious Black Jamun could be the answer to India’s energy shortage

Black Jamun aka Syzygium cumini

Black Jamun aka Syzygium cumini

BANGALORE (Diya TV) — A group of researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee have created an inexpensive and efficient way to dye solar cells using one of the most delicious summer fruits, perhaps only second to the Indian Mango;  Syzygium cumini aka Black Jamun. These researchers say that Black Jamun could be the answer to India’s increasing need for energy. 

Common to the South Asian subcontinent, the black Jamun tree grows up to 30 meters high and can live about 100 years.

The researchers were able to fabricate Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC) by extracting the pigment called anthocyanin of the fruit and came to a conclusion that they could bring down solar panel costs.

Black Jamun aka Syzygium cumini

Black Jamun aka Syzygium cumini

When asked the researchers on the thought of using Black Jamun as a medium to build solar panel, lead researcher Soumitra Satapathi said “the dark color of Black Jamun and abundance of these trees present in the IIT campus clicked the idea that it might be useful as a dye in the typical DSSC”.

Most solar cells today are made of either single crystal silicon or poly-crystalline silicon. While poly-crystalline is more efficient, it is also more expensive and on the other hand Dye Sensitized Solar Cells are not yet as efficient as conventional silicon-based solar cells.  Although emerging technology has been touted as a low-cost alternative since titanium dioxide is cheap and widely available. These cells could have a lot of potential in India, since the country is rapidly expanding its solar capacity and has pledged to have an energy mix of 40 percent renewable sources by 2030.

“The increasing pressure on fossil fuels and concern of global warming has inspired continuous search for alternate energy,” said Satapathi. He added that- India is in need with renewable energy sources at this moment and their team are actively engaged in low cost high efficiency solar cells production.

In their published paper on Photovoltaics, the researchers says that “anthocyanins are naturally occurring biodegradable and nontoxic molecules that are extracted using techniques that involve negligible low cost to the environment and therefore can provide eco friendly alternatives to synthetic dyes for Dye Sensitized Solar Cells Production.”

India plans to spend a whopping $100B USD into the solar energy sector between now and 2022 as it looks to increase its solar-power generation capacity from 10 gigawatts to 100 by 2022, this cost effective solution could provide that additional margin needed for investors.

Perhaps then the days of power cuts and un-planned candle-lit dinners would finally become a thing of the past for this rapidly developing nation.


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