A new research has found that the amount of energy generated by solar panels can be increased by about 50% by mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles prior to taking flight.


The research was carried out by a team of experts from the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) and the Centre for Ecology and Conservation, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, UK.

Scientists have discovered that the Cabbage White butterfly holds its wings at 17 degrees, which is the best angle for solar panels.

The specific sub-structures of the butterflies’ wings enable the light from the sun to be reflected most efficiently, resulting in warming the flight muscles to an optimal temperature in minimum time.

Scientists have investigated how to replicate the wings to develop a new, lightweight reflective material that could be used to generate solar energy.

The position, featuring a 17-degree wing tilt, increases the temperature of its wing muscles by 7.3 degrees Celsius.

Scientists also revealed that the replication of the simple mono-layer scale cells identified in the butterfly wings in solar energy producers may enhance the power-to-weight rations of future solar concentrators, making them lighter and more efficient.

Research lead author Tapas Mallick said: "Biomimicry in engineering is not new.

"However, this truly multidisciplinary research shows pathways to develop low cost solar power that have not been done before."

Image: The Cabbage White butterflies are known to take flight before other butterflies on cloudy days. Photo: courtesy ofShutterstock.