Sunflowers (SunBots) Track & Harvest Solar Energy

As we are entering the 21st year of the 21st century, scientists are continuously making breakthrough inventions. One of the latest eye-catching inventions is the “SunBot” (Sunflower like Biomimetic Omnidirectional Tracker) which is an artificial less than 0.4 inches wide and behaves similar to real sunflowers. It bends towards the sun and harvests solar energy.

Working of SunBot

The SunBot consists of a stem made of a material that reacts to light and has an energy harvesting flower at the top. The flowers are also made from the same standard light-absorbing material present in solar cells. 

When the sunlight touches the stem and heats it up, the stem shrinks. As a result, the stem bends and it turns the flower at the top towards the sunlight. A shadow is created due to bending which cools down the material and terminates the shrinking. It is assembled in such a way that it’s top spreads upto only 1 millimeter.

According to the researchers, the SunBot is the first artificially created material that can be used for phototropism.

Photo Credits: Khan Academy

Efficiency of SunBots

The researchers were given the task to test these bots in different climate conditions and to gather the information about their efficiency which turned out to be pretty good. The data showed that they were 400% more efficient than conventional methods.

Climate change is forcing researchers to discover new ways to optimize renewable harvesting energy sources and this seems to be a big step in the field of solar energy.

Designing of SunBots

The team which invented these bots looked to nature for inspiration and innovative design ideas. Nowadays, biometric devices are being used to solve a variety of problems across different industries. These devices include nature in their design and working and mimic the natural intuitiveness of biological mechanisms. 

So, the researchers took inspiration from working on sunflowers and started to work on developing the first artificial smart material that could mimic the behavior of sunflowers and as well as be of benefit to humankind.  

Using the model of phototropism in plants, the researchers were able to create a system that uses the principle of nanostructured stimuli-responsive polymers that have the ability to align in the direction of the sunlight.

Applications of SunBots

As of now, there are many improvements that need to be made before they can be implemented commercially on a large scale. But the hopes of researchers are high that one day these SunBots would be useful for guided surgery, solar sails for spaceships, self-contained robotics, adaptive signal receivers etc.

Such a significant increase in energy harvesting has the potential of helping with the widespread adoption of solar power, and help to reduce emissions and switch to renewable energy sources. 

That is why people are actively moving towards using solar energy for fulfilling daily energy usage. EBR Energy continues to brighten your homes, and commercial and industrial buildings with its prompt solar energy solutions. With EBR Energy, you can take all the right steps to convert your building into a powerhouse before the summers of 2021 arrive. Contact team EBR Energy via email or reach out to us on social media to discuss your energy requirements.


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