• 13 hours PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 15 hours Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 17 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 18 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 19 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 20 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 21 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 23 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 1 day Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 1 day Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 1 day Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 2 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 2 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 2 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 2 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 2 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 2 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 3 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 3 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 3 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 4 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 4 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 4 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 4 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 4 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 4 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 4 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 4 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 4 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 5 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 5 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 5 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 5 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 5 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 5 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Alt Text

Solar Costs Are Dropping Much Faster Than Expected

The U.S. Department of Energy…

Alt Text

Unusual Ruling Could Impact Cheap Solar Panel Imports

The U.S. International Trade Commission…

Making Recyclable Solar Cells from Trees

Making Recyclable Solar Cells from Trees

Fabricating new plant-based solar cells on cellulose nanocrystal substrates means that they’re recyclable in water.

The researchers report that the organic solar cells reach a power conversion efficiency of 2.7 percent, an unprecedented figure for cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials.

The cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates on which the solar cells are fabricated are optically transparent, which lets light pass through them before being absorbed by a very thin layer of an organic semiconductor.

During the recycling process, the solar cells are simply immersed in water at room temperature. Within minutes, the CNC substrate dissolves and the solar cell can be separated easily into its major components.

Professor Bernard Kippelen of Georgia Institute of Technology’s College of Engineering led the study and says his team’s project opens the door for a truly recyclable, sustainable, and renewable solar cell technology.

Related article: Suntech Bankruptcy Bad News for Solar

“The development and performance of organic substrates in solar technology continues to improve, providing engineers with a good indication of future applications,” says Kippelen, who is also the director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE).

“But 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.”

To date, organic solar cells have been typically fabricated on glass or plastic. Neither is easily recyclable, and petroleum-based substrates are not very eco-friendly. For instance, if cells fabricated on glass were to break during manufacturing or installation, the useless materials would be difficult to dispose of.

“Paper substrates are better for the environment, but have shown limited performance because of high surface roughness or porosity. However, cellulose nanomaterials made from wood are green, renewable, and sustainable. The substrates have a low surface roughness of only about two nanometers.

“Our next steps will be to work toward improving the power conversion efficiency over 10 percent, levels similar to solar cells fabricated on glass or petroleum-based substrates,” says Kippelen. The group plans to achieve this by optimizing the optical properties of the solar cell’s electrode.

There’s also another positive impact of using natural products to create cellulose nanomaterials. The nation’s forest product industry projects that tens of millions of tons of them could be produced once large-scale production begins, potentially in the next five years.

Related article: Study Finds Libya has More Solar Resources than Oil

Jeffrey Youngblood, an associate professor in Purdue University’s School of Materials Engineering, collaborated with Kippelen on the research. Their findings appear in Scientific Reports.

A provisional patent on the technology has been filed with the US Patent Office.

This research was funded in part through the Center for Interface Science: Solar Electric Materials, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, by the Office of Naval Research, and the US Department of Agriculture–Forest Service.

The USDA-Forest Service provided funding for CNC substrate processing. The US Forest Service-Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) provided CNC materials.

By. Jason Maderer




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News