Butterfly to improve solar energy efficiency

Cabbage White butterflyScientists at Exeter University have been taking a long hard look at the Cabbage White butterfly and believe the way it flies will help to make solar energy cheaper and improve its efficiency.

Cabbage White butterflies take a v-shape posture to warm their muscles before they take off, and the Exeter researchers believe that by mimicking this posture, solar panel could deliver nearly 50 percent more power.

By creating the wing like shape, the scientists say the power to weight ratio of the solar panel increases by 17 times, making it “vastly” more efficient.

Cabbage Whites fly before other butterflies do on cloudy days and that’s because they maximise concentrating solar rays onto their thorax, with substructures in the wings let light from the sun to be reflected more efficiently.

Richard ffrench-Constant, a professor who specialises in butterfly mimicry at the University of Exeter, said: “The lowly Cabbage White is not just a pest of your cabbages but is actually an insect that is expert at harvesting solar energy.”