Northwestern University Researchers have been working on a new flexible Solar Cell that has a 40 percent improved efficiency over organic photovoltaic cells, according to this article in the Chicago Tribune.
The new flexible panels would be made using similar technology to that used in conventional media and package printing. Tobin J. marks co-leads the the project with Robert Chang.
“You could incorporate flexible organic photovoltaics into roofing shingles,” said Marks
The flexible material could be used for a wide variety of applications from portable roll up panels for camping or remote location use to massive farms covering hundreds of square miles. I’ve been through West Texas, we have room out there. Really this would allow the installation of cheap solar production in any area that exposed to sunlight.
The panels consist of two organic compounds that when hit by sunlight give off both electron and hole current. The anode of the electrode is nanocoated with nickel oxide in order to allow the hole current but block the electron current which flows towards the cathode. The researchers have filed for a patent on this technology and are working to improve the process further still.
“We see this as more than an incremental improvement,” Marks said. “We see it as a breakthrough.”