Energy Efficiency Day

Photosynthesis and Metamaterials

Every March 5th, World Energy Efficiency Day is commemorated, the date on which the aim is to raise awareness among the population about the rational use of energy, using it effectively and promoting renewable energy alternatives.

Our benchmark for Energy Efficiency continues to be plant photosynthesis. In this process, when a photon hits an electron in a leaf, the electron delivers it to another molecule called a reaction centre, which converts that light into chemical energy to power the plant.

The mystery is that it is too efficient a process because very little energy is lost. In 2007 it began to be suspected that the principle of quantum superposition could have a lot to do with it: the electron uses this mechanism to take the most efficient route to the reaction centre.

Although the concept is not yet proven, it has been gaining strength among the scientific community as a reference guide for the implementation of highly efficient silicon technology.

Another cutting-edge development focus is Metamaterials for the recovery of energy dissipated in machines, which thanks to their negative electromagnetic properties allow the concentration and recovery of photons dispersed in the processes.

Metamaterials are the focus of the master’s degree that the Chilean engineering student Danilo Iturrieta will begin this year at the Federico Santa María Technical University (USM ) whose research purpose is to progress in the use of the energy dissipated during the phenomenon of partial discharges.

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