September 28, 2016
Scientists are using inkjet printers to print solar cells which can be used anywhere.
Tech Story reported that there is an increased demand for solar energy in both “developed and developing countries”, and that it is “predicted that the cost of the solar panel will fall 10 percent a year”, according to Oxford University researchers.
Solar cell technology development has now found a way of printing which “enable the production of thin, flexible solar cells” based on “printable solar ink”, and these are called “inkjet solar cells”. Using specialist ink such as Cadmium Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) to print the solar cells is cheaper than “silicone cells” and they are “lightweight [and] portable”.
Australian scientists from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), Monash University and the University of Melbourne have been working on the technology for nine years, and have discovered a way of cost-effectively printing “panels onto plastic”. The cells are made by using an “inkjet printer which prints solar ink onto a solar cell substrate”, and this is printed onto “paper thin, flexible plastic” or steel, and if it is made “semi-transparent” it can be used for “building cladding and windows”.
The benefit of these solar cell sheets is that they are light, and can be taken anywhere remote and incorporated into “windows, doors, walls [and] curtains”, in fact wherever sunlight infiltrates. The beauty of this is that the solar cells can be printed onto technology like “smartphones or laptops”, which enables them to “self charge”.
Because these inkjet cells are so flexible, it gives them the lead over the conventional solar panels, which need a flat surface for attachment; whereas printed solar cells can be printed anywhere on building frontages or in windows at a much lower cost, and this could lead to the development of buildings that require no conventional energy.
Categories : Products and Technology