Now solar cells can be printed cheaply on polymer paper

February 27th, 2009 - 5:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 27 (IANS) A thin and flexible solar cell developed by researchers can also be mass produced with the help of banknote printing technology.
The first of such polymer solar cells have rolled off the presses at the Melbourne-based plant that prints polymer banknotes and currency for 26 countries.

Monash University researchers Udo Bach and Yi-Bing Cheng are part of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) - a team of scientists and industry partners working to develop a polymer solar cell that can be printed cheaply and efficiently.

“The film-like solar cells are fabricated on a polymer substrate and are almost as thin as a sheet of paper. The ultimate goal of our work is to develop this alternative solar cell technology to a point where it can compete with conventional photovoltaic technologies already established on the market,” Bach said.

The printable cells offer a number of advantages over traditional solar panel technology. They are lightweight and easily transportable, making them attractive to a domestic market and also flexible like a banknote.

Being partially transparent, they can be installed almost anywhere, including roofs of homes and cars, windows or glass panels. The cells also float, allowing them to cover pools or dams, reducing evaporation while also generating energy, said a Monash release.

Cheng said the printing trials had begun six months ahead of schedule.

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