Exploring Alternative Energy Sources for Antarctic Stations: Integration of Solar Panels into Building Infrastructure


The dye present in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) is responsible for converting sunlight into an electron flow. These pigments can be extracted from natural sources, providing a means to utilize typically lost or discarded resources, such as algae deposited on the coast or unmarketable fruits. By using anthocyanins extracted from the flower of the ceibo tree (Erythrina crista-galli), two small panels were assembled and installed at the Artigas Antarctic Scientific Base, allowing for remote evaluation of their performance over a period of 19 months. Located inside a room behind a window, the panels demonstrated excellent stability during the evaluation period. They were also able to generate electrical energy from artificial light sources near the installation area and had the capacity to produce electricity during the low-radiation winter months, where snow could potentially play a significant role by functioning as a large mirror. This research describes an interesting advancement in expanding the energy matrix of the Antarctic bases by utilizing typically discarded natural resources to potentially play a relevant role.

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