In the race to make solar energy both cheaper and more efficient, researchers at the Wake Forest University of North Carolina have found a new process to create plastic solar cells that capture more sunlight. Silicon-based solar cells had already been improved very recently with the use of ‘nano-towers’, but organic cells were so far known to be quite ineffective. Record efficiency of over 6% has now been achieved with polymers creating ‘nano-filaments’ branching like trees and able to capture more photons from the sun.
The production of plastic solar cells able to develop an efficiency of 10% or more – proper commercial use of such cells requires a minimum of 8% – is planned for next year. This technology is becoming cheaper and more effective, which is a good sign, as the need for alternative energy sources to fossil fuel is getting increasingly urgent.
The global search for a sustainable energy supply is making significant strides at Wake Forest University as researchers at the university’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials have announced that they have pushed the efficiency of plastic solar cells to more than 6 percent.
Source: Wake Forest University