Scientists at Stanford University that creates a cheaper substitute for pricey materials used in our conventional solar panels. So hey, maybe we should put some money into solar energy? I don’t know.
To the best of the scientists’ knowledge, this is the first time that a solar cell was constructed entirely of carbon, of which we have plenty. The study built on previous work done in their lab.
Also interesting, the panels are of a thin film that can be coated from solution. What does that mean? Well, it’s possible that one could coat these films onto buildings, cars or houses to generate electricity.
The solar cell consists of a photoactive layer that absorbs sunlight between two electrons. Scientists used material made of carbon nanotubes and “buckyballs” – soccer ball-shaped carbon molecules just one nanometer in diameter. They’ve filed a patent for the entire device.
And every component, every single piece of it, is made of carbon materials. The one downside to having all carbon is that the efficiency of the solar panel is not all that great. But considering we’re still in the R&D phase, getting it to be possible is a huge step.
Carbon is also way more durable than our current conventional solar panels and can handle extreme weather. So there’s certainly some military applications to that — possibly even in space travel.
As they create higher efficiency, the potential cost of solar power could be going down to a point where it can be a higher percentage of our energy generation. As we’ve seen, this year alone has shown a lot of advances in energy — whether it’s making gasoline without fossil fuels or a cheaper material for our solar panels.
Something to think about.