New Solar Panel Technology Stylish and Sustainable
2008-02-01 0:00

From: enn.com

The new cell technology combines nanoparticles and organic dyes that can be produced in any number of colors and designs.

The key component of the new modules is an organic dye which in combination with nanoparticles converts sunlight into electricity. Due to the small size of the nanoparticles, the modules are semi-transparent. This aspect makes them well suited for fasade integration. The new solar cells are being developed by members of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, who will be presenting their new technology in Tokyo at Nanotech 2008, the world’s largest trade fair for nanotechnology.

The solar module prototype is amber in color. It is possible, however, to produce the modules in other colors, or even to print images or text on the module so that it serves as a decorative element. These design options open up an entirely new range of possible applications. Instead of mounting the solar module on the roof of a building, the electricity producer could be integrated into windows. Used in this way, the new technology not only prohibits direct sunlight from entering the building interior but also generates electricity at the same time.

“We don’t see the dye solar cell as being a rival to the conventional silicon cell,”¯ says Fraunhofer ISE physicist Andreas Hinsch. The module prototypes only achieve an efficiency of four percent, which is not sufficient for rooftop applications in comparison to the performance of crystalline silicon solar cells. On the other hand, dye solar cells have a clear advantage when it comes to faƧade integration.

The wafer-thin electricity-generating film, which lies between two glass panes, is produced from nanoparticles and applied using screen printing technique. This technique makes it possible to integrate any desired image on the module. A glass facade made of this material can be given a decorative and promotionally effective design, such as a colorful company logo, and delivers electricity into the bargain.

The dye solar module is still a prototype. The Fraunhofer researchers have developed it together with industry partners in the ColorSol project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF.

One particular challenge posed by the new technology is that the narrow gap between the two glass panes must be hermetically sealed so that no air can get in and destroy the reactive substances inside. The Fraunhofer experts have come up with a special solution to this problem. Instead of using polymeric glue like their competitors, they have decided to work with glass frit. To this end, glass powder is screen-printed onto the panes, and fuses with them at a temperature of around 600 degrees Celcius.

Fatigue tests under various weather conditions have shown that the solar cells still function properly even after several thousand hours. The long-term stability as such, however, has yet to be officially certified.




Related Articles
Douglas Mulhall - Nanotechnology, Our Molecular Future
Worried about the environment? Solutions: The Air Car & Water Car
South African Solar Research Eclipses Rest of the World
Bring on the nanobots, and we will live long and prosper


Latest News from our Front Page

Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
2016-04-28 20:10
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North. The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night. A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked. The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
2016-04-28 20:48
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough. Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield. Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
2016-04-27 2:23
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July. The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
2016-04-27 2:09
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown. The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent. He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
2016-04-25 23:10
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are. ... London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race. Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event. Marathon ...
More News »