Transparent solar cells - so efficient la
Better ways to harness the power of the sun.
That's among the hottest green energy research that's ongoing around the world.
A team in Korea has developed a breakthrough technology.
Lee Ji-won sheds light on what could be the next level in solar energy.
When people think of solar panels... what might come to mind is a dark, inflexible object installed on a roof.
But the solar panels of today are more transparent with more applications than ever.
Now, a Korean team of researchers says it's developed new solar cells that are more transparent and efficient than their predecessors, potentially allowing households to save energy and money.
They could even be used to charge your phone.
The team was aiming to narrow the gap between transparency and efficiency, while also addressing a major obstacle -- uneven application of the material used to coat the cells.
Their method of coating the cells allows for even application, resulting in greater transparency, better conductivity and longer life. "By coating a piece of glass or transparent plastic with nickel oxide and zinc oxide, we found a way for the solar cell to efficiently absorb and convert UV rays into solar energy while letting the visible light pass through." The panels they developed are over 80-percent transparent and convert 8-percent of the light they take in, which is extremely high compared to existing solar cells that are either 20-percent transparent or are much less efficient.
"The transparent solar cell is also two-sided, meaning that light can enter from both sides... so when it's attached to a window, it will generate energy from the sunlight in the morning.. and from the artificial light inside the room at night.
The team is now working to vary the cell's shape, thickness and flexibility... so it can be attached to any object, including cars, phones and windows... and still function when needed.
With the global transparent solar cell market expected to grow over 17-billion U.S. dollars by 2020, the team says its goal is to commercialize the solar cell in two years,... offering consumers an environmentally and economically friendly energy source... as well as a convenient way to charge everyday devices.