06 April 2007

Solar Cells 90% cheaper

Never say dye?

the 10x10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions — making them ideal for cloudy climates. The dyes can also be incorporated into tinted windows that trap to generate electricity.

Another bugbear of solar cells — ecological impact — is also eclipsed by these dye cells:

they are made from titanium dioxide — a plentiful, renewable and non-toxic white mineral obtained from New Zealand’s black sand. Titanium dioxide is already used in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints & cosmetics.

“The refining of pure silicon, although a very abundant mineral, is energy-hungry and very expensive. And whereas silicon cells need direct sunlight to operate efficiently, these cells will work efficiently in low diffuse light conditions,” Dr Campbell says.

“The expected cost is one 10th of the price of a silicon-based solar panel, making them more attractive and accessible to home-owners.”

So... cheap, efficient, ecological? Sounds like those Kiwi scientists have outdone themselves with this one.

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