This came through my inbox this morning ... another possible breakthrough on solar energy. Having been exposed to a lot of 3D printing info over the past few months, I found this fascinating as it uses a somewhat analogous printing tech to lay down "nanoparticle-based 'inks'" (that absorb light and conduct electricity) on a flexible plastic substrate.
Mashable's story Spray-On Solar Cells Cheaper to Manufacture, has some interesting points about the differences in this approach. Using a thin plastic is a key element, as it removes most of the weight associated with solar panels, and the flexibility also allows for easier transportation (this should be able to be delivered in rolls), and eventually specialized installations (they mention having a backpack of this material that would charge your smart phone).
The process, developed by chemistry professor Jillian Buriak of the University of Alberta, is also based on different materials than standard solar cells, using far more plentiful (hence cheaper) elements such as phosphorus and zinc to convert light into electricity. There's a video on the page which walks through some of these details.
Again, just a "green tech" story that I found interesting today ... hope you find it useful!
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Filed under: Green Tech Articles