Clear polymer solar cells could cover skyscrapers and tablets
Imagine, if you will, a world where building windows and computer screens produce electricity via clear solar cells. Well, it may not be as far off as you think.
Researchers at the UCLA have developed a new transparent solar cell that can absorb radiation without compromising your ability to see through it. That means that the film can be attached to glass and other surfaces to produce electricity from sunlight.
One of the key features of the UCLA team's discovery is that it generates energy by using a "photoactive plastic material" that absorbs primarily infrared light, as opposed to visible, creating electricity by tapping radiation no human eye can see.
"I think that solar has to take a different attitude," says study leader Yang Yang, a UCLA professor of materials science and engineering. "Whenever people think about solar, they think about the big silicon panels that they put on their roof, or the big solar farms that SoCal Edison builds out in the desert. But for the future of energy use, we must think about how to harvest energy whenever and wherever it is possible. If we can change the concept that energy has to come from one source, which is the power company, that the supply should not be subject to the limitations of the power grid, a lot of new things can happen."
(via LA Times)
Photo: A new transparent solar film developed by UCLA researchers, laid over a piece of glass, is nearly invisible. The breakthrough makes possible windows that generate electricity and many other inexpensive applications. (UCLA)