On thermodynamic inconsistencies in several photosynthetic and solar cell models and how to fix them†
We analyze standard theoretical models of solar energy conversion developed to study solar cells and photosynthetic systems. We show that assuming the energy transfer to the reaction center/electric circuit is through a decay rate or “sink”, contradicts the second law of thermodynamics. We put forward a thermodynamically consistent alternative by explicitly considering parts of the reaction center/electric circuit and by employing a Hamiltonian transfer. The predicted energy transfer by the new scheme differs from the one found using a decay rate, casting doubts on the validity of the conclusions obtained by models which include the latter.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Global Energy Challenges: Solar Energy