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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Roll-on Solar, roll-on

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, August 3, 2014/Categories: sustainability, art and design, environment

In what may be one of the biggest breakthroughs in solar power development, researchers at the University of Sheffield have developed  pioneering new spray-on solar cells . Their discovery may open the door to roll-on solar materials on almost any surface for solar power generation.

Using a new lead-free material called  Perovskite  the solar cells, combine high efficiency with low material costs and could help cut the overall expense of generating solar electricity. Using spray-on manufacturing methods to deposit the new material in a uniform layer, the Sheffield researchers have made a huge advance in  solar photovoltaic (PV) cell  production efficiency.

Solar PV Sprayer Rolling a Uniform Perovskite Layer (credit: University of Sheffield)

According to the Sheffield announcement, the new painting process wastes little of the new material and can be scaled to high volume manufacturing processes – similar to applying paint to cars or graphic printing. A layer of the perovskite material could create solar panels on cars or any structures that don’t have flat surfaces where standard silicon PV cells don't allow much flexibility. Lead investigator, David Lidzey, said:

“Remarkably, this class of material offers the potential to combine the high performance of mature solar cell technologies with the low embedded energy costs of production of organic photovoltaics.”

Solar cost/watt Decline, 1992-2014 (credit: Bloomberg/Wikipedia)

The cost of solar power has dropped dramatically even before the new PV materials were discovered. Let the commercialization of perovskite solar painting explode into every possible application imaginable to generate power and reduce fossil-fuel derived, and CO2 generating, electricity. As the famous bluegrass song says,  Roll-on Buddy, Roll-on  so let the rolling begin.

Solar powered mugs to keep your morning latte hot? Why not?


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