Printable Solar Cells Rolled Out by Australian Researchers

Some of these printed solar cells are the size of an A3 sheet of paper

By on May 17th, 2013 19:41 GMT

Harvesting green energy sources is by far one of the best ways to improve on the energy industry's current ecological footprint.

In an attempt to promote sustainability and make the practice of harvesting solar power a more affordable one, a team of Australian researchers have figured out a way to print solar cells.

Working together with specialists from the Victorian Organic Cell Consortium and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, a team of University of Melbourne specialists have rolled out a solar cell printer, which can allegedly roll out a photovoltaic panel once every two seconds.

As the scientists who worked on this project explain, their solar cell printer is likely to increase the popularity of this particular green energy source amongst the general public.

This is because these cells could one day be fitted on rooftops, glass surfaces and even personal items such as laptops, Inhabitat explains.

"There are so many things we can do with cells this size. We can set them into advertising signage, powering lights and other interactive elements."

"We can even embed them into laptop cases to provide backup power for the machine inside," CSIRO materials scientist Dr. Scott Watkins reportedly told the press.

The same source informs us that, about three years ago, when they first started working on this project, the researchers only managed to print solar cells the size of fingernails.

However, it was not long until they succeeded in printing solar cells whose size was fairly similar to that of an A3 sheet of paper.

The cells manufactured by these specialists allegedly generate 10-50 watts of power per m2.

For the time being, the printer used in order to manufacture these photovoltaic panels costs about $200,000 (€155,249).

However, the researchers hope that it will not be long until they succeed in lowering its cost, and that this will translate into other companies' showing an interest in this technology.

"We're developing our processes to be able to use these existing printing technologies so that the barrier to entry for manufacturing these new printed solar cells is as low as possible," Dr. Scott Watkins wished to stress.

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