back to article Boffin builds DIY solar cell from doughnuts and tea

An inventor claims to have proven that a mixture of teatime staples from England and North America can be used to make solar panels. Can't see the video? Download Flash Player from In a fast-paced video, the presenter runs through a process that essentially combines chemicals from tea and American-style sugared …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Trevor Byrne
    Thumb Down


    I can't believe he didn't use PG Tips !

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    ... And for his next trick ...

    The infinite improbability drive

  3. Peter

    A little early....

    April 1st is still a week away.

  4. Max
    Thumb Up


    More articles like this please :)

  5. Filippo Silver badge

    donot qc

    Wtf is titanium doing in my donuts?

  6. Michael Habel

    Re: And for his next trick...

    He better watch his step, before he gets lynched by a rampaging mob of respectable Physicists, who finally realize the One thing they really can't stand is a Smartarse...

  7. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    :-) Yes, It must be Friday and a Right Sun Fun Day too for IT Boffins ...

    ..... on the Deeply Disturbing and Highly Enriching Quantum Dimensional Plane[t]

    Only on El Reg do you get such Classy Madness on a Friday. And hey, with the Energy Crisis solved, what's there to brainstorm about whenever Tea and Doughnuts are so readily available to give Fuel to everyone ...." we're still brainstorming about the economic one"

    And Paris because Houses of the Rising Sun cannot Survive and Thrive without such Selfless Bounty and Exquisite Booty........ Definitely Manna from Heaven for Seventh Heaven.

  8. Kevin

    ... and was lynched by a rampaging mob of IT readers

    .. when they realised the one thing they can't stand ... is a smartass...

  9. TeeCee Gold badge

    Didn't work for me.

    Turned out that the doughnuts I was using were low calorie ones made with "I can't believe it's not Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles"......

  10. The Mysterious Panda
    Paris Hilton

    Great job!

    Science at its very best. And kudos for the southpark reference. ??? Profit!

    Paris, because... well, because.

  11. Robajob


    Surely he could have used custard creams.

  12. Lottie

    Pretty cool

    The world needs more bonkers scientists who do this sort of thing. Non-conventional thinking is the way forward.

  13. Wize

    Ah, but will it...

    ...make all the the molecules in your undergarments leap simultaneously one foot to the left, in accordance to the theory of indeterminacy?

    Mine's the one with the badge "No one likes a smart arse"

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Starship Bistromath

    This is more akin to the propulsion system of the "Starship Bistromath" than the "Heart of Gold"?


    Too much Douglas Adams methinks

  15. Andrew Barratt

    a hole in the plan......

    I'll get my coat.

  16. Dave


    Sounds more like a large, flat battery to me.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Filippo

    'Wtf is titanium doing in my donuts?'

    It's an inert whitener used in everything from paint to toothpaste by way of doughnut sugar.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    If it works...

    I love this.

  19. Sartorius

    @Starship Bistromath

    Too much DH?!? No such thing.

    Mine's the one in brown plaid.

  20. Steve

    What will the cops say...

    ...when the price of doughnuts goes up?

  21. Brian Miller

    Titanium Dioxide Raspberry Solar Cell

    Looks like 0.4V for the finished cell.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adams geekery

    Isn't it a bit more like the Total Perspective Vortex on Frogstar B, built by some bloke to annoy his wife using a fairy cake?

    Mine's the towel with the nutrients soaked into the corner.

  23. Stewart Haywood

    All this time...

    ...and I didn't realize that police officers were solar powered.

  24. Robert Lamont

    Old news

    This is old news. The only new thing new about it is extracting titanium dioxide from doughnuts.

    I've made a cell like this using blackberry juice instead of the tea and it had a similarly crap efficiency of a tiny fraction of a percent.

    The ammeter in the video was showing about 40 micro amps when the cell was exposed to sunlight. The cell voltage is about 0.4V. Let's assume that the cell area was about 1 square centimetre. Calculating this up we get a power output of about 160 milliwatts per square metre. Assuming visible light levels of 1 kilowatt per square metre we get an efficiency of converting light into electricity of 0.016%. This compares to about 5-15% for commercial silicon cells.

    Just for fun lets have a look at what area of these cells would be required to power the unibody macbook that I'm typing this on. Using the battery voltage and current drain reported in apple system profiler 12 watts are calculated being drawn from the battery. 12/0.16 = 75 square metres of solar panel required.

  25. Jonny F

    As Homer Simpson said: Dounuts, is there anything they can't do?

    I know what i'm doing this weekend :-)

    As Douglas Adams put it, " he fed that value into the finite improbability generator, gave it a really hot cup of tea, and managed to generate the infinite improbability generator out of thin air"

    As Homer Simpson said: Dounuts, is there anything they can't do?

  26. Blake Farrow
    Thumb Up

    guy in video here -

    i love all the douglas adams references here. its a shame I couldnt include any in the video!

    I also submitted a version of this video to an American Chemical Society video contest here: and could use all the support I can get!

    And I've never been called a boffin before. Fantastic.

  27. John Smith Gold badge

    @Robert Lamont

    High efficiency triple junction solar cells use 3 layers with absorption peaks at different wavelengths. the top 2 being thin enough to allow the unabsorped light to pass through. These have hit 34%.

    They're popular with satellite manufacturers and commercially available but *very* expensive.

  28. Paul

    Anthrocyanin is people!

    Uhh, don't you mean ANTHOcyanin? Nomenclature fail aside, it was cute, though somewhat marred by the fact that "conducting glass" isn't something most people have lying around like the other ingredients.

  29. Michael Necaise

    Conducting glass

    Conducting glass is just glass coated in tin oxide. Not terribly hard to do, even in a garage workshop.

    Mine's the lab coat with the name "Mad Scientist" stenciled on it.

  30. Shig

    That pisses on Scientific Eye!

    K, so I went to school as we all do; science bored the living shit out of me... largely because it wasn't very interesting. Oh why could they not have taught us like this guy? He makes it interesting and compelling - keep it up dude, you're a genius!

  31. Richard Duncan

    Lying Around???

    Where are you finding the donuts? I've never found a donut lying around anywhere.

  32. P leit

    Never Work

    This will never work.

    Has this guy seen the crap people eat over here in the UK.

    He would never get enough donuts out of the tea room!

  33. P leit
    Jobs Horns

    all we need the donut & tea solar panel it generates electricity...needed to power the LIGHTS

    inside because no natural light can get through the donut and tea smeared windows!!!!

    good one Dr einstein! hee hee hee

This topic is closed for new posts.