Printed Flexible Solar Cells Provide Embedded Renewable Power
With the cost of energy approaching the insane, new and improved methods of creating better and more easily deployable solar power cells are very welcome. This advance in manufacture by Konarka Technologies promises to deliver cheaper power cells in large quantities. I hope they can commercialize the technology to the point we can use solar as a tricke-charge backup in every powered application exposed to the sun.
In the effort to produce inexpensive, easily manufactured sources of sustainable, renewable power, solar cells continue to be a major focus — particularly flexible solar cells that can be applied directly to surfaces. Flexible solar cells are nothing new, but the methods by which they are made have progressed significantly in recent years.
One company, Konarka Technologies of Lowell, MA, recently announced that they had demonstrated the ability to manufacture solar cells by inkjet printing. The company’s Power Plastic® solar cell technology — which is the result of a project originally funded by the U.S. military — uses a wider range of the light spectrum than conventional solar cells. All visible light sources — not just sunlight — can be used to generate power. It can be used virtually anywhere there is a light source and a battery.
Dr. Christoph Brabec is Chief Technology Officer at Konarka, and previously worked in polymer photovoltaics at Siemens. As a polymer scientist, he helped develop the nanomaterials that are the basis of Power Plastic. MORE...