Manufacturers have been using silicon for the manufacture of solar cells for quite a long time, since it is this material that is considered the most effective for converting UV radiation into electricity. A new concept in science – organic photovoltaics made from carbon and plastic, promise to present a cheaper way of generating electricity in the future. Research has shown that organic matter can be as effective as silicon.
What are organic solar cells?
The term “organic” refers to a definition that means that new devices will be based on carbonaceous materials rather than silicon. So, solar panels (and you can actually buy them from us) of a square or rectangular shape, with which many of us are familiar, require a permanent installation site. It can be a roof or other flat or sloping surface.
Organic photovoltaics are made from compounds that can be printed on thin rolls of plastic. They can be bent, curled and modeled for different types of surfaces, and even sewn onto clothes.
What is the reason for their possible widespread use
It is believed that these developments can become very effective in the near future.
So far, the researchers have been able to achieve 15% efficiency for organic batteries, compared with a recent silicon cell world record of 27.3%. In the future, it is planned to reach rates of 17-25% for new devices.
An estimated 15% efficiency and a 20-year lifespan for organic solar equipment will produce electricity at a cost of less than 7 cents per kilowatt per hour. For example, back in 2017, the average cost of electricity in the United States was 10.5 cents per kilowatt / hour.
What exactly was done by the researchers
Previously, when working with organic materials, it was found that they have loosely bound molecules that can capture electrons and slow down the production of electricity. It was on this issue that scientists worked and as a result, they found a solution – combining different layers of materials on a tandem basis.
A tandem cell is a structural unit where two layers of active materials are combined, each of which can absorb light waves of different lengths. This means that ultraviolet radiation can be used with broader wavelengths and therefore more efficiently. As a result, this approach can lead to an increase in the amount of electric current received.
What to expect from new developments
Flexible printed organic solar cells offer a wide range of possibilities. So, they can work indoors, where, due to translucency, it is possible to include them in the design of windows on the facades of buildings. Thus, electricity will be generated all the time during daylight hours.
Such equipment has great potential in relation to their application in buildings. Due to their light weight, the structures can be deployed on the roofs of houses, the design features of which do not allow the installation of heavy silicon batteries. They can also be used on car roofs, clothing and even glasses to charge a mobile phone, for example.