Energy yielded by organic solar cells is less than inorganic counterparts

September 20th, 2010 - 3:11 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Sep 20 (ANI): Solar energy which is seen as an alternative to the petroleum based energy production, is comparatively expensive and does not yield same energy, say experts.

In addition, information on the total effect of solar energy production on the environment is incomplete.

To better understand the energy and environmental benefits and detriments of solar power, a research team from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has conducted one of the first life-cycle assessments of organic solar cells.

The study found that the embodied energy - or the total energy required to make a product - is less for organic solar cells compared with conventional inorganic devices.

“This analysis provides a comprehensive assessment of how much energy it takes to manufacture an organic solar cell, which has a significant impact on both the cost and environmental impact of the technology,” said Brian Landi of RIT.

“Organic solar cells are flexible and lightweight, and they have the promise of low-cost solution processing, which can have advantages for manufacturing over previous-generation technologies that primarily use inorganic semiconductor materials,” added Annick Anctil, lead researcher on the study.

“However, previous assessments of the energy and environmental impact of the technology have been incomplete and a broader analysis is needed to better evaluate the overall effect of production and use.”

The study sought to calculate the total energy use and environmental impact of the material collection, fabrication, mass production and use of organic solar cells through a comprehensive life-cycle assessment of the technology.

The team found that when compared to inorganic cells, the energy payback time for organic solar cells was lower.

“The data produced will help designers and potential manufacturers better assess how to use and improve the technology and analyze its feasibility versus other solar and alternative-energy technologies,” added Landi.

The results were presented at the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers 2010 Photovoltaic Specialists Conference. (ANI)

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