Saturday, 30 May 2009

Cost of materials for capturing solar energy could soon become cheaper

One of the barriers to the wider adoption of renewable energy is the cost of the materials used to convert the energy of the sun into electricity. This could soon change. Recent developments in the science behind solar panels mean that we may soon be seeing a significant reduction in the cost of the materials used in their manufacture. Using sulpher-based compounds (known as chalcopyrites) could be the answer.

Work at the Universitat Jaume I by Teodor Krassimirov is looking into the benefits of this new development and has resulted in work to “provide a material that is deposited like a film with applications in very efficient systems for storage of photovoltaic energy. A less expensive method has been proposed and more work will need to be done to optimise it but there is no doubt that an important step has been taken”.


The main benefits of using chalcopyrites is that they allow high performance materials that are cheaper to produce. However, Purificaci├│n Escribano, chair of Inorganic Chemistry and co-director of the thesis together with senior lecturer Juan Carda reminds us that the “cleanest energy is that which isn’t consumed and the best waste is that which doesn’t exist”. A lesson for all us in that final thought, scientist or ordinary lay person.

Universitat Jaume I. "Low-cost Materials For Capturing Solar Energy." Science Daily 21 May 2009. 30 May 2009. See http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/05/090518103223.htm.


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