Tuesday, November 29, 2005

University of Capetown's Disposable Solar Panel

Sounding Circle is reporting a prototype method for printing solar panels on paper. I did a google search to see if I could find a photo, but no luck. John doesn't appear to have found an image either. This is a stunning development in solar technology. John describes the process of printing solar panels on paper:

"The method seems to involve printing with modified color printers, using three or four separate print runs with black, blue, yellow and magenta inks containing tiny silicon particles. They print the metal contacts, then the semiconductor structure, then more contacts. The voltage and power output of the solar cell is determined by the size of the poster. An "A2-sized poster" will deliver up to 100W of power, enough to charge a cellphone, power a radio or provide five hours of lighting, according to Prof David Britton. News coverage from SA outlets mentions that 'Shops could stock rolls of solar panel posters, and cut it to meet a customer's needs. The poster could be mounted behind a window or attached to a cabinet'.

Apparently the research team is seeking to commercialise the project. Coupling nanotech with AutoCad fast prototyping is about as advanced as TreeHugging gets. Let's hope they're as good at business as they are at inventing because this could help drive down the price much faster than anyone imagined possible. Recalling that paper can be made of various non-woven polymer strands that are entirely water resistant, this seems like it has great potential."

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