Skip to comments.New Flexible Plastic Solar Panels Are Inexpensive And Easy To Make
Posted on 07/20/2007 9:23:42 AM PDT by gpapa
Science Daily Researchers at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have developed an inexpensive solar cell that can be painted or printed on flexible plastic sheets. "The process is simple," said lead researcher and author Somenath Mitra, PhD, professor and acting chair of NJIT's Department of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences. "Someday homeowners will even be able to print sheets of these solar cells with inexpensive home-based inkjet printers. Consumers can then slap the finished product on a wall, roof or billboard to create their own power stations."
Harvesting energy directly from abundant solar radiation using solar cells is increasingly emerging as a major component of future global energy strategy, said Mitra. Yet, when it comes to harnessing renewable energy, challenges remain. Expensive, large-scale infrastructures such as wind mills or dams are necessary to drive renewable energy sources, such as wind or hydroelectric power plants. Purified silicon, also used for making computer chips, is a core material for fabricating conventional solar cells. However, the processing of a material such as purified silicon is beyond the reach of most consumers.
"Developing organic solar cells from polymers, however, is a cheap and potentially simpler alternative," said Mitra. "We foresee a great deal of interest in our work because solar cells can be inexpensively printed or simply painted on exterior building walls and/or roof tops. Imagine some day driving in your hybrid car with a solar panel painted on the roof, which is producing electricity to drive the engine. The opportunities are endless. "
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...
Let’s hope there’s something to this and that the people developing it aren’t subject to buyouts or other forms of intimidation.
More announcement than product. If they printed these announcements on the back of solar panels and stuck them under our windshield wipers we would have enough watt-hours to recharge our car batteries before lunch—nationwide!
From what I’ve read the real problem with solar has long been the efficiency of the collectors because they tend to collect only a very narrow part of the light spectrum and reflect some 80% of the light hitting them.
Apparently there has been some success with solar collectors that collect and use more than 80% of the light striking them. The problem is as usual with large scale production. Such collectors could be much smaller and eventually cheaper of production become feasible.
for your ping list
The article didn’t state the efficiency did it?
Plastic, flexible, big deal. We need to get the efficiency much higher if solar is to be useful.
Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off
Kewl. One more step in the right direction.
I'm not going to argue the "possibility", but what possible REASON could there be to put the material into ink-jet-like containers and have people run paper through their printers to create these?
Surely it would be much cheaper just to print the papers in a big factory and sell reams to the homeowners.
Or is the idea that they will come in colors and you can print your own designs? still pretty stupid if you ask me.
I wonder how you solder leads to a piece of printed paper?.....
I’d buy some of these. Too bad they will never see the light of day.
Efficiency is much less important than cost for home solar cell usage.
An 80% efficient solar cell that costs 10 times as much as a 15% efficient solar cell gets us nowhere.
Even with an 80% efficient cell, you could not generate enough power to drive a vehicle from solar cells covering its entire surface. So the claim in the article is disingenuous. It will never happen.
A house roof, on the other hand, could collect enough power to run the home even at 15% cell efficiency. If solar cell prices were to drop by 90%, most of the homes in the Southwest would cover their roofs with them because the payback period would be less than 5 years. They simply cost too much compared to grid electricity, and cost reduction while maintaining current efficiency is more important that chasing efficiency for its own sake.
good info- thanks!
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