Solar Heat-Enhanced Energy Conversion in Devices Based on Photosynthetic Membranes and PEDOT:PSS-Nanocellulose Electrodes

Gábor Méhes, Mikhail Vagin, Mohammad Yusuf Mulla, Hjalmar Granberg, Canyan Che, Valerio Beni, Xavier Crispin, Magnus Berggren, Eleni Stavrinidou*, Daniel T. Simon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Energy harvesting from photosynthetic membranes, proteins, or bacteria through bio-photovoltaic or bio-electrochemical approaches has been proposed as a new route to clean energy. A major shortcoming of these and solar cell technologies is the underutilization of solar irradiation wavelengths in the IR region, especially those in the far IR region. Here, a biohybrid energy-harvesting device is demonstrated that exploits IR radiation, via convection and thermoelectric effects, to improve the resulting energy conversion performance. A composite of nanocellulose and the conducting polymer system poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene):polystyrene sulfonate (PEDOT:PSS) is used as the anode in biohybrid cells that includes thylakoid membranes (TMs) and redox mediators (RMs) in solution. By irradiating the conducting polymer electrode by an IR light-emitting diode, a sixfold enhancement in the harvested bio-photovoltaic power is achieved, without compromising stability of operation. Investigation of the output currents reveals that IR irradiation generates convective heat transfer in the electrolyte bulk, which enhances the redox reactions of RMs at the anode by suppressing diffusion limitations. In addition, a fast-transient thermoelectric component, originating from the PEDOT:PSS-nanocellulose-electrolyte interphase, further increases the bio-photocurrent. These results pave the way for the development of energy-harvesting biohybrids that make use of heat, via IR absorption, to enhance energy conversion efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1900100
JournalAdvanced Sustainable Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • bio-photoelectrochemical cells
  • bio-photovoltaic cells
  • energy harvesting
  • infrared
  • nanocellulose
  • thylakoid membranes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science


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