Toward a new generation of low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells Chemical & Engineering News
Solar energy, once regarded as costly and impractical, is now poised to play a bigger, brighter role in meeting future energy needs due to new materials and processes that offer lower costs and improved efficiencies, according to an article [insert link] scheduled for the Aug. 27 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, ACS’ weekly newsmagazine. With potential applications ranging from homes to offices to portable electronics, solar energy could soon become a common part of your daily lives.
The magazine’s cover story, by C&EN senior editor Mitch Jacoby, includes interviews with of the world’s leading solar energy experts. They describe the challenges of tapping into this rich energy source and the new materials and strategies that are emerging from their research.
The materials include semiconductor nanocrystals that can be formed into flexible sheets and networks of nanowires for improved electrical transport. Jacoby also describes new generations of promising yet inexpensive solar cells, including low-cost ‘plastic’ solar cells based on semiconducting polymers.
“It’s tough to predict which class of materials and solar cell design will be the winning combination that generates a supply of clean, renewable, and affordable energy plentiful enough to make a significant contribution to the world’s future energy needs,” Jacoby writes. “The solution may come from new types of devices and novel materials yet to be discovered or from creative ways of using substances already in hand.”