Solar cells that can be painted on conductors

New type of Solar cells have been developed by researchers that can be painted on.

Paint-on Solar CellsThis research has been done by the researchers from the University of Notre Dame and published online in December 6 issue of the journal ACS Nano.

“We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology,” said Prashant Kamat, John A. Zahm Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry and an investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), who lead the research.

The research team worked on quantum dot i.e. “power producing nanoparticle” of titanium dioxide, which was coated with either cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide and suspended in a water-alcohol mixture to create a paste, which can then be painted on any conductive surface. This paint is an inexpensive alternative to conventional solar cells, as they need no special equipment.

Researchers are still working on this to make it ready for commercial use but the efficiency of this new paint is still very low i.e. 1% as compared to 10-15% in conventional cells.

“But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future.” Kamat said.

“That’s why we’ve christened the new paint, Sun-Believable,” he added.

Reference:

Matthew P. Genovese, Ian V. Lightcap, Prashant V. Kamat, (2011).Sun-BelievableSolar Paint. A Transformative One-Step Approach for Designing Nanocrystalline Solar Cells. ACS Nano, DOI:10.1021/nn204381g

Further Reading:

Notre Dame News

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