Affordable solar technology

January 6, 2011 By Cath Harris

An innovative Oxford company has developed new solar cell technology that is manufactured from cheap, abundant, non-toxic and non-corrosive materials and can be scaled to any volume.

Harnessing the Sun’s energy, the are printed onto glass or other surfaces, are available in a range of colours and could be ideal for new buildings where solar cells are incorporated into glazing panels and walls.

Oxford Photovoltaics (Oxford PV), formed with the help of Isis Innovation, Oxford University’s technology transfer company, has combined earlier research on artificial photosynthetic electrochemical solar cells and semiconducting plastics to create manufacturable solid-state dye sensitized solar cells.

The device is a form of thin film solar technology, a relatively new development in solar energy generation.

Leading thin film technologies are currently hampered by the scarcity of minerals used. Other dye-sensitized solar cells are being held back by the volatile nature of liquid electrolytes.

Oxford PV’s technology replaces the liquid electrolyte with a solid organic semiconductor, enabling entire solar modules to be screen printed onto glass or other surfaces.

Green is the most efficient "semi-transparent" colour for producing electricity, although red and purple also work well.

The materials used are plentiful, environmentally benign and very low cost.

Oxford PV predicts that manufacturing costs of its product will be around 50% less than the current lowest-cost thin film technology and expects its new mechanism will eventually match the unsubsidised cost of electricity generated from fossil fuels.

The technology could revolutionise the incorporation of photovoltaic materials into windows and walls and other parts of buildings. CEO Kevin Arthur said: ‘This technology is a breakthrough in this area. We’re working closely with major companies in the sector to demonstrate that we can achieve their expectations on economic and product lifetime criteria.’

The technology was developed by Dr Henry Snaith, of Oxford University’s Department of Physics, who said, 'One of the great advantages is that we can process it over large areas very easily. You don’t have to worry about extensive sealing and encapsulation, which is an issue for the electrolyte dye cell.'

Explore further: Sharp to Begin Mass-Production of Thin-Film Photovoltaic Modules

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6 comments

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Quantum_Conundrum
4.8 / 5 (5) Jan 06, 2011
HOw much power per square meter? What is the lifetime of the product? How much efficiency is lost per year of operation?

It's amazing how little useful, relevant information this article actually provides...
Modernmystic
3 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2011
"Oxford PV predicts that manufacturing costs of its product will be around 50% less than the current lowest-cost thin film technology and expects its new mechanism will eventually match the unsubsidised cost of electricity generated from fossil fuels."

Match cost HOW/WHEN? Match cost at night or when it's cloudy? Match cost of the batteries you're going to have to buy and maintain? Are those costs included?

What does "eventually" mean?
Thadieus
3 / 5 (2) Jan 07, 2011
Sounds like you guys need to actually do a little work and contact the manufacture. Physorg provides this information free (sort of) Just be thankful you got a lead. It's up to you to follow through if your interested. I could do this for you for a small fee if you like.
Lord_jag
1 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
Where does it mention anything about batteries? Why would you need batteries?
Modernmystic
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
Sounds like you guys need to actually do a little work and contact the manufacture. Physorg provides this information free (sort of) Just be thankful you got a lead. It's up to you to follow through if your interested. I could do this for you for a small fee if you like.


Oh FUCK OFF. Sounds like you need to do a little critical thinking and not be so apt to believe obvious bullshit when you hear it. We've seen articles like this for ten years...where's the cheap affordable solar power??? It's complete and total horseshit, THAT'S what we were pointing out.

Where does it mention anything about batteries? Why would you need batteries?


Ummm geee lemme see....so you can turn the lights on at night when there's no sun to provide power? Did your brain fall out and you accidentally stepped on it?
Thadieus
not rated yet Jan 09, 2011
Sounds like "Modernmystic" hasn't been laid in a while.

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