Solar panels work best outside and as a result nature tends to get dust, dirt, grime, and such on the panels which lower the efficiency of the panels. Now some researchers have accidentally found a way to have self-cleaning solar panels to cut back on maintenance costs and increase efficiency.
Molecular microbiology and biotech professor Ehud Gazit and his team research ways to control peptide atoms and molecules. People with Alheimer’s disease have a peptide called beta amyloid found in the plaques that form in their brains. While working on self-assembling nano-tubules in the lab, the scientists made an interesting discovery.
They got the peptides to self-assemble in a vacuum, forming tiny tubes that look like grass. The resulting nanocoating repels dust and water, which would be useful for protecting desert solar arrays, reducing maintenance. Plus, the material has potential as a super-capacitor, which could give lithium batteries more kick. The assembly technique is detailed in Nature Nanotechnology