none
none

HOT NEW TECHNOLOGY: 3D PRINTABLE SOLAR PANELS COMING SOON

19-09-2014
by 
in 

Printable solar panels that could power “entire skyscrapers” may soon be available, Australian researchers say.

And the new technology could see personal electronic charging transformed in the very near future, they say.

A team of 50 scientists in various fields worked for years to develop paper-thin, printable solar panels as part of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium.

They hope to see commercial market production for use in low-power applications in the near future.

The key benefit of such technology is in transforming the way personal electronics are charged. 

"iPad covers, laptop bags, skins of iPhone (will no longer be) just for casing electronics, but to collect some energy as well and power those electronics," Fiona Scholes, a senior research scientist at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, told ABC News.

What’s more, the energy source can be transported to the world’s remote and developing regions in a cheap and easy way.

According to the consortium’s website, the difference between existing solar panels and the technology it is developing is that “organic cells offer the potential to allow printing directly onto materials such as roofing and windows, and therefore open intriguing building integrated design opportunities.”

The consortium is comprised of members of CSIRO, Melbourne and Monash universities.

They’ve now managed to reduce the solar panels to the size of a coin. They achieved results by using ordinary 3D printers adapted to work with solar ink. "It's very cheap. The way in which it looks and works is quite different to conventional silicon rooftop solar," said Scholes.

"It can be made to be semitransparent – we can use it for a tinted window scenario." The team is now in the process of developing a spray-painted coating.

The big implication for the future is that once they’ve got the process streamlined of adapting plastic for solar panel use streamlined, powering entire skyscrapers would be no big deal.

"We print them onto plastic in more or less the same way we print our plastic banknotes," Scholes also said. "Connecting our solar panels is as simple as connecting a battery."

As their dream gets closer to realization, companies are beginning to show interest in developing the technology further.

"We would like to improve the efficiency of solar panels - we need to develop solar inks to generate more energy from sunlight … we are confident we can push the technology further in the years to come,” Scholes said.

The potential for alternative uses is endless, she said. 

"They could potentially be used in a whole range of applications such as consumer product packaging, windows and window furnishings, temporary structures, remote locations and developing communities."

Related news & editorials

  1. ETA’s warehouse has extensive Bonfiglioli stock
    11.01.2018
    11.01.2018
    by      In
    Bonfiglioli’s partnership with its largest Australian distributor, Engineering Transmission Agencies (ETA), brings quality, reliability and performance to Queensland and Northern NSW customers in industries such as mining, manufacturing, bulk materials handling, food and beverage, water and waste.... Read More
  2. Australian flag
    11.01.2018
    11.01.2018
    by      In
    It’s official: Australia is an Innovation Champion. That is the view of the US Consumer Technology Association, which launched its inaugural International Innovation Scorecard at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
    The scorecard is a development from the association’s annual ranking of US... Read More
  3. 10.01.2018
    10.01.2018
    by      In
    Australian company CST Wastewater Solutions has put together an environmentally friendly and cost-efficient wastewater treatment system for smaller, remote and ecologically sensitive community, municipal, agribusiness and industrial applications throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
    The two-stage... Read More
  4. 10.01.2018
    10.01.2018
    by      In
    US-based utility-scale solar power specialist SolarReserve has received development approval for its Aurora Solar Energy Project in South Australia.
    The project is located on farmland 30km north of Port Augusta and is centred on a 150MW solar thermal power station with 1100MWh of molten salt energy... Read More