High-efficiency plastic solar cell developed| Korea.net News
Korea.net
 
Login Community Help Sitemap About us
French German Spanish Arabic Vietnamese Russian Chinese Japanese
 
Government Press Releases
Nation
Foreign Relations
Economy / Industry
Finance
Culture / Events
Science / Tech
Travel / Sports
Society
Foreign Reports on Korea
Opinion
Features
Photo News
Issues
Open Forum
Weather
 
 Science / Tech
Previous List next News Forum ENLARGE FONT SIZE  REDUCE FONT SIZE  Scrap Email Artcle Print

High-efficiency plastic solar cell developed
 Date: July 13, 2007
Scientists from Korea and the United States said Friday (July 13) that they have created a highly efficient organic photovoltaic power cell that could trigger the widespread use of solar energy.

The team led by Lee Kwang-hee at the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology (GIST) and Professor Alan Heeger of the University of California, Santa Barbara, said the solar cell they created has an energy efficiency rate of 6.5 percent.

"This is the highest number reached by any plastic-based organic photovoltaic solar cell that some scientists argued could not surpass the 5 percent mark," said Lee, a material science professor. The breakthrough has been published in the latest issue of Science magazine.

Energy efficiency indicates the percentage of sunshine that solar cells turn into electricity. Experts said an efficiency rate of 7 percent must be reached for plastic solar cells to become commercially viable.

The U.S. Department of Energy reached 5 percent in past tests, while energy efficiency figures attained by Japanese and European labs hover at around 3 to 4 percent.

Conventional inorganic silicon-based solar cells used in homes have an efficiency rate of 7 to 8 percent, while very expensive panels placed on satellites have numbers reaching 15 percent.

The scientist said high efficiency is attained by making better use of sunlight.

Plastic solar cells mimic natural photosynthesis found in plants by using fullerene and polymers to make electricity.

Existing photovoltaic panels, however, only used the luminous part of solar rays.

"In comparison, the jointly developed cells can extract power from infrared sources as well as luminous rays that enhance efficiency," he said.

He said this was possible because South Korean scientists have perfected the use of titanium oxide to make tandem layered solar cells. The upper layer absorbs luminous light, while the lower part makes use of the infrared rays.

Lee also said that through a high-tech encapsulation process, the life span of the plastic-based organic photovoltaic solar cell could be extended considerably.

Previously organic photovoltaic panels reported a noticeable drop in efficiency over time.

Other advantages of the new solar cells are low manufacturing costs, simplified production using a spin coating method, and the thinness of the finished product that can be made flexible.

"Conventional solar cells cost US$2.3 to generate one watt of electricity compared to $0.1 for the latest plastic cells," he said.

The scientist said if the technology is perfected the new panels could grab a large percentage of the global solar energy market that is expected to reach $34 billion in 2010, and hit $100 billion in 2050.

Lee, who made headlines last year by unveiling plastic-based polymer that can conduct electricity, said merging of the two technologies could open new horizons.

He said mixing the two could allow solar cells to be placed over windows and roofs, and allow mobile phones and electronic appliances to be recharged using solar energy.


 

Writer Comment

wann
that is really great. Hope more koreans do the similar RD work instead of spending so much time in playing ball and church. s (July 30, 2007)  
corby
i hope that it will be affordable to household buyers so that we can save on electricity (July 13, 2007)  
Kyu
Pete, You are absolutely right. (July 13, 2007)  
pete
this is fantastic. get to mass production fast and save the world from burning its fossil fuels! (July 13, 2007)  
:: Click to view KOIS Comments Policy

Top
Previous List next News Forum Scrap Email Artcle Print
Sign Up for Newsletter
Parade of 17th century Korean envoys to Japan reen...
  President Roh welcomes A...
  Korea's unemployment rat...
  Korean independence move...
  Korean footballer Seol K...
  Korea's south coast grow...
  No one should deny the K...
  21 days in Afghanistan: ...
  UN chief's remodeled res...
  Increase women's partici...
  White buckwheat blossoms...
  Closing economic gap bet...
  Gwacheon hosting mega pe...
  Korea should promptly ra...
  Chuseok, Korea's Thanksg...
  Chungmuro films dominati...
  Korea's south coast grow...
  Korea's unemployment rat...
  President Roh welcomes A...
  N.K. nuclear talks enter...
  Parade of 17th century K...
webmaster@korea.net rss sitemap privacy webmaster mail