New organic solar cells process sunlight as plants do

Organic solar cells would create renewable energy, rely less on fossil fuels, be recyclable, and be cheaper than current cells.

Considering that green plants have been converting sunlight into sugar for millions of years, it’s only natural that scientists would look to them as a model for improving solar energy technology. Scientists recently developed an organic substitute that processes sunlight as a plant does. Advancing this technology could aid the evolution of solar power as a sustainable energy strategy.

Most traditional solar cells are made of glass or plastic, which makes them breakable and hard to recycle. In order to address these problems, researchers at the Georgia Tech College of Engineering experimented with organic compounds made from wood. The compounds, dubbed cellulose nanomaterials (CNs), are very thin and come from trees (a renewable resource).

CNs — a fancy way of saying “miniscule plant parts” — achieve reasonable solar efficiency and lend themselves to cheap production on a mass scale. Laboratory tests also suggest that simple solvents can break down CNs into their constituent components, allowing old, spent solar cells to make a simple and inexpensive transition into new ones.

“Organic solar cells must be recyclable,” Bernard Kippelen, a Georgia Tech professor and research team lead, said in a statement. “Otherwise we are simply solving one problem — less dependence on fossil fuels — while creating another, a technology that produces energy from renewable sources but is not disposable at the end of its lifecycle.”

While CNs solve the problem of sustainability neatly, efficiency is still a major issue. Kippelen writes in a research paper that less recyclable organic solar cells have achieved efficiencies as high as 10.6 percent (i.e., the cell can effectively process 10.6 percent of the energy absorbed from sunlight). In order to be useful in a domestic or industrial setting, a solar cell needs an efficiency of at least 5 percent.

Currently, Kippelen’s organic cells are 2.7 percent efficient. Because the study focused on eco-friendliness rather than on efficiency, however, the low efficiency rating is not necessarily a huge setback for the project.

“Our next steps will be to work toward improving the power-conversion efficiency [to] over 10 percent, levels similar to [those seen for] cells fabricated on glass or petroleum-based substrates,” Kippelen said.

If cheap, efficient renewable solar cells sound too good to be true, bear in mind that the technology is still being developed and is still years away from being commercialized.

By Marshall Honorof | TechNewsDail

 

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

This Man One Ups Tesla By Inventing An Electric Car That Never Needs Charging

The concept of the electric car has been around for a very long time, and as with any other world revolutionizing technology, it’s taken...

The 10 Biggest Dangers Posed By Future Technology

It’s not easy predicting the future of technology. In the fifties it seemed a pretty much foregone conclusion that by 2015 we would all...

Harvard Study Proves Why The Bees Are All Disappearing

The human race is really starting to feel the consequences of their actions. One area we are waking up to is the massive amount...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Putin has Banned Rothschild and His New World Order Banking Cartel Family from Entering Russian Territory

As of recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin took yet another decision for his country. "Under any circumstances", the Rothschild family is banned from entering Russian territory. Along...

This Man One Ups Tesla By Inventing An Electric Car That Never Needs Charging

The concept of the electric car has been around for a very long time, and as with any other world revolutionizing technology, it’s taken...

Has dopamine got us hooked on tech?

In an unprecedented attack of candour, Sean Parker, the 38-year-old founding president of Facebook, recently admitted that the social network was founded not to...

Einstein brain was a bit different than yours and mine

Einstein brain was better-connected than most, according to new study Several scientific studies of Einstein brain structure have been done, noting some differences from brains...

Cells Forged from Human Skin Show Promise in Treating Multiple Sclerosis

A study out February 7 in the journal Cell Stem Cell shows that human brain cells created by reprogramming skin cells are highly effective...

Every ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ In America Has Just Been Vindicated…

Yes, the government can use your phone, your computer and even potentially your television to spy on what you are doing inside your own...

Cow Milk Without the Cow Is Coming to Change Food Forever

COUNTER CULTURE LABS takes its name pretty literally. It is a bio lab, for sure, complete with pipettes, carboys, microscopes, and flasks. But it...

Chemotherapy Proven to Spread Cancer, Cause Lethal Tumors in Groundbreaking New Study

In a groundbreaking new study, they’ve proven that chemotherapy causes cancer cells to spread throughout the body – to replicate themselves, making your cancer...

Whoopi Goldberg Launches Marijuana Menstrual Pain Relief Products

Cannabis entrepreneurship, an industry by and large dominated by white men as BuzzFeed discussed last month, got a huge boost from Whoopi Goldberg this...