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How to make your own solar cells from powdered donuts and tea

Oct. 6, 2017

My love of fried dough is actually a subconscious desire to improve the field of solar electricity.

I have an undying love of donuts. I could eat them three times a day and still have room for more. But it turns out that my love of fried dough is actually a subconscious desire to improve the field of solar electricity. Confused? Well, it turns out that you can create solar cells using powdered donuts and tea. Isn't science delicious?

According to Gareth Branwyn for Make: "WikiHow has a piece on how to make a photovoltaic solar cell from some common household ingredients and a piece of conductive glass (which you can buy online). The main ingredient in the cell is a titanium dioxide (TiO2) solution. You make this from the powdered sugar found in white powdered donuts.

The process of making the cells is only ten steps and basically involves filtering out the titanium dioxide from the donut powder and preparing a solution from it, coating the conductive glass with the TiO2, heating it to fix it to the glass, and soaking the cell in hibiscus herb tea (teas contain organic compounds known as anthocyanins which are good at capturing light in the visible spectrum). With that part of the cell done, you then create a second layer of conductive glass, covering it in graphite (pencil) lines to create a counter-electrode."

YouTuber Blake Farrow posted a video demonstrating the process.

About the Author

Alexis Gajewski | Senior Content Strategist

Alexis Gajewski has over 15 years of experience in the maintenance, reliability, operations, and manufacturing space. She joined Plant Services in 2008 and works to bring readers the news, insight, and information they need to make the right decisions for their plants. Alexis also authors “The Lighter Side of Manufacturing,” a blog that highlights the fun and innovative advances in the industrial sector. 

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