Bio mimicry has been used by engineers and scientists around the world to develop many ground breaking designs. Recently, engineers from the University of Exeter are exploring the ways to mimic the stance of the Cabbage White butterfly in their solar panels design. It is expected that these panels inspired from the butterfly stance will boost the efficiency by around 50 per cent.
The design inspired by the Cabbage White butterfly is actually a common sight in Europe during the summer days. However, this little butterfly tends to struggle a bit when getting to its normal chores in the morning. The butterfly before flying off tends to warm its flight muscles as it tends to use its wings to reflect the sun’s energy in its body. This habit is called reflectance basking.
This habit of the Cabbage White butterfly is expected to help the specific sub structures of the wings by letting the sun light reflected very efficiently. This makes sure that the butterfly’s flight muscles get warmed as quickly as possible. Furthermore, as a result these butterflies are known to take the flight on cloudy days with limited sunshine in less time as compared to other butterflies.
The team at the Environment and Sustainability Institute along with the Centre for Ecology and Conservation in Exeter from their studies have found out that by implementing a wing like structure inspired from the butterfly to the solar panels can help to elevate the power-to-weight ratio of a panel by around 17 times. This design is expected to be much more efficient than its counterparts. According to the lead author of this study, bio mimicry is not new and this is a truly multidisciplinary research that is helping develop affordable solar power that has not been attempted before. A co-author of the study said that this proves that the Cabbage White butterfly is not a pest but actually an insect genius at harvesting solar energy.