Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Plants, Light & Excitons

Once in a while, the Economist publishes an article where the reader's comments turn out to be a lot more interesting than the original piece. Here is one  -


The main point of contention is this claim by the TE author -
"The very best photovoltaic cells, the kind seen on many roofs, convert sunlight to electrical energy with an efficiency of around 35%; for more affordable cells the figure is closer to 20%. Plants accomplish the same process with about 90% efficiency during the first stage of photosynthesis."

Are plants really so efficient?

A reader contests this claim by quoting three articles:

  • Scientific American (2011):
  • ScienceMag -
  • Current Opinion in Biotech (2008):

He then reiterates the original question - where did TE source the '90% efficiency' figure?

No answers yet from the Economist.

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