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Water-based printable solar cells

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  • Water-based printable solar cells

    UNIVERSITY of Newcastle researcher Professor Paul Dastoor is working on printable solar cells, which can be produced at a cost of $7 a square metre.


    Professor Dastoor, along with colleagues at the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources, recently installed a new printer capable of printing up to 100m of solar cells a day.

    A roof-top covered with solar cells can produce sufficient power for an average house.

    The core technology is a water-based solar paint developed by the researchers, which consists of semiconducting polymer particles suspended in water.

    Professor Dastoor is aiming for a commercial prototype of the printed solar cell by the end of the year.

  • #2
    Nanowires raise solar efficiency limit

    SCIENTISTS in Europe have shown nanowire-based solar cells can raise the efficiency limit on solar cells, since a single nanowire can concentrate sunlight up to 15 times that of normal intensity.

    According to the researchers from the Nano-Science Center at the Niels Bohr Institut, Denmark and the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, the unique physical light absorption properties of nanowires open up the potential for developing a new type of highly efficient solar cells.

    The scientists have studied how to develop and improve the quality of the nanowire crystals, which have applications not just in solar cells, but also quantum computers. The diameter of a nanowire crystal is smaller than the wavelength of sunlight, causing resonances and thus concentration of the rays.

    When the concentrated sunlight is converted into electricity, it yields a higher conversion efficiency.

    This effectively increases the theoretical Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit by a few percentage points, and opens up the possible application of nanowires into solar cells, though the technology is still a few years from commercialization.