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Posted Sat Feb 28 2009: from University of Alberta, via ScienceDaily:
Solar Energy Performance With Plastic Solar Cells Improved With New Method
The University of Alberta and the National Research Council's National Institute (NINT) for Nanotechnology have engineered an approach that is leading to improved performance of plastic solar cells (hybrid organic solar cells). The development of inexpensive, mass-produced plastic solar panels is a goal of intense interest for many of the world's scientists and engineers because of the high cost and shortage of the ultra-high purity silicon and other materials normally required.... "[A metaphor might be] a clubhouse sandwich, with many different layers. One layer absorbs the light, another helps to generate the electricity, and others help to draw the electricity out of the device. Normally, the layers don't stick well, and so the electricity ends up stuck and never gets out, leading to inefficient devices. We are working on the mayonnaise, the mustard, the butter and other 'special sauces' that bring the sandwich together, and make each of the layers work together. That makes a better sandwich, and makes a better solar cell, in our case".... After two years of research, these U of A and NINT scientists have, by only working on one part of the sandwich, seen improvements of about 30 per cent in the efficiency of the working model.... The team estimates it will be five to seven years before plastic solar panels will be mass produced but Buriak adds that when it happens solar energy will be available to everyone. She says the next generation of solar technology belongs to plastic. "Plastic solar cell material will be made cheaply and quickly and in massive quantities by ink jet-like printers."
[Read more stories about: alternative energy, technical cleverness, sustainability]

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'Doc Jim says:
For some reason this story is making me hungry for mass-produced plastic.

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