An anonymous reader writes "By harnessing the shells of living organisms in the sea, microscopic algae called diatoms, engineers have tripled the efficiency of experimental dye-sensitized solar cells. The diatoms were fed a diet of titanium dioxide, the main ingredient for thin film solar cells, instead of their usual meal which is silica (silicon dioxide). As a result, their shells became photovoltaic when coated with dyes. The result is a thin-film dye-sensitized solar cell that is three times more efficient than those without the diatoms."
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