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Recyclable Organic Solar Cells from Trees Created by Researchers

solar-cells-made-from-trees

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology‘s Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE) who collaborate with Purdue University have unveiled a new efficient, recyclable organic solar cell prototype made from trees. The material from trees used to develop the cells is actually a substrate that can be sourced not only from trees but from other plants as well. These efficient polymer solar cells are then fabricated on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates to create a more sustainable solar cell that can be quickly recycled in room-temperature water.

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Although this is not the first organic solar cell to be developed, it is the more recent development, probably to be the first that is truly recyclable, and potentially sustainable.  Georgia Tech explaination organic solar cells to date is that “[they are largely fabricated on glass or plastic, while others have used petroleum substrates.]” Describing the research led by Professor Bernard Kippelen of the Georgia Institute of Technology, he emphasized the importance of the team’s work: “organic solar cells must be recyclable. Otherwise we are simply solving one problem, less dependence on fossil fuels, while creating another, a technology that produces energy from renewable sources but is not disposable at the end of its lifecycle.”

While the current conversion efficiency rate for the tree-based solar cells might appear underwhelming, 2.7 percent, the team describe it as “unprecedented” for “cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials.” With a provisional patent filed, the team at COPE plan to next work on reaching “power conversion efficiency over 10 percent, levels similar to solar cells fabricated on glass or petroleum-based substrates.”

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via Physorg

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ZeDaySeptember 21st, 2013
The Global 24 hour Moratorium on the Combustion of Fossil Fuels
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