Term Paper: Photosynthesis &amp Solar Photovoltaic Technology

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[. . .] How are photosynthesis and photovoltaic technologies alike and how are they different?

(Alike) Photosynthesis and photovoltaics both take the energy from the Sun and convert it into different energy sources. (Different) And yet they operate in vastly different ways and they produce very different kinds of fuels. (Different). Photosynthesis provides stored chemical potential (sugars) for plant growth; Photovoltaic technologies don't store energy they provide "instantaneous electrical power" which may be stored but in the instant the Sunlight hits the cell there is a production of electricity (Green, 2011, p. 1). (Alike) The hydrogen that is produced through photovoltaic technologies is "…thermodynamically equivalent to the sugar produced by photosynthesis" (Green, p. 1). (Different) Photovoltaic technologies use "fundamental principles combined with advances in materials" and hence photovoltaic technologies complete solar-to-electrical power and "thereby hydrogen production from water electrolysis"; on the other hand photosynthesis "…originated in an environment…and provided for early life forms as a means of self-contained energy production" (Green, p. 1). (Alike) Because the distant future of energy production in society will not be oil or coal, but rather it will be solar, both photosynthesis and photovoltaic technologies will be (and are becoming) pivotal to the survival of humans, animals, and plant species as well.

In conclusion, there are clearly differences and similarities between photosynthesis and the photovoltaic technologies now being built and marketed. The future of electrical energy will be solar, and the future of photosynthesis will be the same as the history of photosynthesis has been. So while one system is being fine-tuned (photovoltaics) the other (photosynthesis) has been around since the early stages of the Earth's development.

Works Cited

Green, Jenny. (2011). Photosynthesis or photovoltaics: Weighing the impact. ASU News

[Now]. Arizona State University. Retrieved October 29, 2012, from https://asunews.asu.edu/20110512_photosynthesis_photovolatics.

Luque, Antonio, and Hegedus, Steven. (2011). Handbook of Photovoltaic Science and Engineering. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Mapel, J.K., and Baldo, M.A. (2007). "The Application of Photosynthetic Materials and Architectures to Solar Cells," in Nanostructured Materials for Solar Energy

Conversion, T. Soga, Ed, Washington, D.C.: Elsevier.

Ohio State University. (2008). How does photosynthesis work? Wonders of Our World.

Retrieved October 29, 2012,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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