Butterfly wings show scientists way to cheaper, efficient solar energy harvesting
Experts from the University of Exeter have come up with extremely valuable findings that can boost solar energy harvesting upto 50 percent. The researchers studied the Cabbage White butterfly’s wing position that it uses to warm up its flight muscles before take-off.
It is believed that Cabbage White butterfly takes fastest flight on cloudy days owing to its capacity to quickly heat its muscles using a 17 degree angle at which it holds its wings in order to maximize the concentration of solar energy. As compared to flat position, the v-shape positioning of wings helps the insect increase the temperature by 7.3 degree centigrade.
The wings forms v- shape that allows for the light from the sun to be reflected most efficiently to provide optimal temperature to flight muscles as quickly as possible. This proves that the lowly Cabbage White is not just a pest of your cabbages but actually an insect that is an expert at harvesting solar energy
,said Professor Richard French of University of Exeter.
While Biomimicry in engineering is not new, this multidisciplinary research throws light on ways to produce low cost solar power. This investigation regarding the perfect positioning of wings has lead the scientists to think about ways to replicate the wings to develop a new, lightweight reflective material for 50 percent higher efficiency in solar energy generation.