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Kudzu kicks up the current

NSF Award:

Tennessee Solar Conversion and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education (TN-SCORE)  (University of Tennessee Knoxville)

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Kudzu is often considered a noxious weed, but its ability to grow well in varied climates makes it a strong candidate for use as an alternative source of energy. With this in mind, researchers connected with the University of Tennessee's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) created thin films containing a kudzu protein group, PS1. The films produced an electric current on a positively charged silicon wafer that is five times greater than the current on an unmodified wafer.

This finding could be applied to impoverished areas of the world that lack electricity. Kudzu crops could be grown and the leaves harvested as a means to provide power to these areas. In addition, as demand for molecular electronics continues to rise, PS1 could become an important option for powering these devices.

Tennessee solar conversion and storage faculty and graduate students Kane Jennings, David Cliffel, Gabriel LeBlanc and Darlene Gunther developed the thin film process and demonstrated the plant's ability to enhance photocurrent production

The group published their results in Industrial Biotechnology.



  • kudzu plants
Kudzu plants.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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