Nanotechnology and OPV for solar power development: between innovation, research and economic needs

Printer-friendly versionInvia a un amico
Nanotecnologia e OPV per lo sviluppo del solare
by Ignazio Cusimano  

Solar energy is, in power, the resource that could allow mankind to minimize the consumption of fossil materials for the production of electric energy, to the point as to cover a large percentage of the world's energy needs. 

According to the Theenergycollective, the development of this technology, however, is hindered by economic contingencies which, in equal conditions of use, favor rather fossil resources, exhaustible and traditional, as well as pollutants. It is estimated that, taking account only of America, roofs absorb solar energy that can be covered, to date, an energy requirement between 50% and 100%. Obviously, the data, with the advent of new technologies or the development of new research in the field, could stabilize and grow even more.

The obstacles that force the subject to other photovoltaic technologies are mostly economic: in particular, we are talking about costs of raw materials and production costs when compared inconvenient, in fact, to those deemed necessary and more sustainable technologies fossils. Also for the necessity of rare raw materials, from some specific areas. In fact, as was pointed out to the 244 th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society, technological progress would have brought into fashion and very rare metals from distant lands (such as China), such as indium and gallium in place of zinc and copper. There was also talk of new tiles for installation of photovoltaic roof that would replace conventional roofing, drawing installation costs. The problem would always be the costs of materials. Still too high.

But the research does not stop in front of obstacles posed by international markets: the sun might just enjoy a raise and get new life thanks to new technologies. Among them stands nanotechnology "Solar Ink". Let's talk about solar panels that are enriched with nanowires, which would achieve an energy efficiency of about 25% greater. The costs are still high, they promise to come down, the Sol Solar upstart Voltaics, for example, a company founded by the expert in nanotechnology Lars Samuelson, has developed a process for the production of nanowires that promises to make photovoltaic cells "nanowire" affordable. Ie using a fast and inexpensive process called "Aerotaxy", which allows the nanowires grow in a solution of active materials and gas. The consequent result is a material called "Sol Ink", which can be stored and subsequently applied to the surface of the photovoltaic panels. Even the same National Geographic points out that nanotechnology can become the real innovation for the expansion of photovoltaics: in fact, according to the famous American network, nanotechnology could provide an answer to the problem of efficiency, to the point of acting with solar cells to a level fundamental, to increase the ability to convert sunlight into energy, and allowing, therefore, to use less expensive materials.

Another solution that could allow the lowering of the cost is the OPV (Organic Photovoltaics): in fact, the Solar Press is developing modules OPV-based materials in flexible plastic, can become a source of energy also in remotely, by means of sensors. These will be developed to detect the presence of CO2 with self-powered wireless technology, and will be able to provide fundamental data to reduce energy waste and optimize the ventilation of buildings.

All rights reserved © - Copyright 2011 - 2014 - by enmoveme