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Doughnuts + tea = homemade photovoltaics

doughnutFile this away in the “Do I Dare Try This at Home?” department: Register Hardware features a video link from a creative American who demonstrates how to make a homemade solar cell from doughnut sugar and Starbucks’ Passion Tea.

While it might sound outrageous at first blush, watch the video and the process makes some sense. Doughnut sugar, Blake Farrow explains, contains titanium dioxide, which can act as a high band-gap semiconductor. Separate the titanium dioxide from the sugar, then mix with the tea, which contains anthrocyanins (an organic dye that blends well with titanium dioxide) and — voila! — a solar-energy absorbing film that can be applied to glass as the basis for a hand-made photovoltaic.

OK, it’s not so easy. Subsequent steps involve a pencil, Everclear and cellophane tape — yes — but the result is clearly demonstrated on the video, though not to Homer Simpson’s satisfaction: doughnut sugar and tea can in fact be used to create an electricity-generating solar cell.

Pretty sweet, in more ways than one.

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