Light Capturing Framework for Biosolar Cells

Simulating the architecture of the canopy together with the optical properties of the leaves enables the distribution of the light to be modelled.  This can then be combined with a model simulating photosynthesis.
A realistic mechanistic computer model of light absorption and photosynthesis in a 3D system will help to find ways for substantial improvement of the solar energy conversion of biologically inspired systems. This will lead to more durable energy, hence contributing to the quality of life. Such a model allows an economic study of the most promising approaches and development of an optimal biosolar system, increasing the total harvestable energy per unit area. The 3D distribution of objects in the environment is usually far from optimal to reach the maximum photosynthesis capacity of the system. An optimized 3D (or in other words: both vertical and horizontal) distribution of light and objects can substantially increase the total photosynthesis yield of a system.
The aim of the project is to optimize the 3D distribution of light and objects (e.g. canopies, leaves) in a system such that light capturing and in particular photosynthesis of the total system is maximized. To reach this goal a 3D computer modeling framework (GroIMP) is developed, calibrated and validated, which integrates a model for light distribution and interception by object surfaces (e.g. a leaf) and physiological models simulating the conversion of the absorbed light of the objects in harvestable energy (e.g. leaf photosynthesis). 
The framework will be able to deal with spectral distribution of light, diffuseness and multiple directions of incident light in heterogeneous 3D systems such as plant canopies. Such models do not yet exist and will open new opportunities for improving the capture efficiency of solar energy. The modeling framework will enable simulation and optimization studies for newly developed prototypes of plants with improved photosynthesis to further increase efficiency.
In this project, computer graphics knowledge with regard to light distribution and rendering of a 3D computer scene, and biological knowledge of physiological and biochemical models are combined to allow a quantitative analysis of the total amount of harvestable energy from sunlight. 
The framework takes into account the spectral properties of the objects, their interrelationship in 3D and the detailed biological processes involved.
The work in this project is primarily done at Biometris, Plant Research International, Wageningen UR, in co-operation with Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, and the Computer Graphics & Visualization Group of the TU Delft. 
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