New manufacturing approach may lower solar energy costs

September 14, 2010

Washington, D.C. (September 14, 2010) -- Driven by rapid global industrialization, finite fossil fuel reserves, and the high cost of many alternative energy options, meeting the world's energy challenge may demand novel solutions. One potential solution has its roots in the ubiquitous industrial invention: the factory.

Investigators at Binghamton University, State University of New York's Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM) -- the only center of its kind in the United States -- are giving factory production of solar energy cells a modern makeover. Their approach includes the use of "continuous electronic sheets," something like a computer flattened into wrapping paper to perform its many functions. They describe their new approach in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which is published by the American Institute of Physics.

Explains lead researcher Howard Wang, "The goal is to apply the next generation of manufacturing to addressing the energy challenge in the way solar cells are produced. We think nanoscale engineering is the key to this new low-cost opportunity for enhancing the solar energy landscape."

Doing this includes: the use of large-scale, flexible format; roll-to-roll manufacturing, a process resembling the printing process of newspapers; and the use of continuous electronic sheets.

To reach this goal, the Wang team devised a promising hybrid material that has high structural quality but is compatible with the roll-to-roll processing technique.

"By driving the cost of production down and maintaining quality with the hybrid," says Wang, "we can create a product that can be competitive with silicon-based products."
-end-
The article, "Vertically Aligned ZnO Nanodisks and Their Uses in Bulk Heterojunction Solar Cells" by Congkang XU, Kaikun Yang, Liwei Huang, and Howard Wang (Binghamton University, State University of New York) appears in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. http://link.aip.org/link/jrsebh/v2/i5/p053101/s1

Journalists may request a free PDF of this article by contacting jbardi@aip.org

JOURNAL OF RENEWABLE AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY

Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (JRSE) is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that covers all areas of renewable and sustainable energy-related fields that apply to the physical science and engineering communities. As an electronic-only, Web-based journal with rapid publication time, JRSE is responsive to the many new developments expected in this field. The interdisciplinary approach of the publication ensures that the editors draw from researchers worldwide in a diverse range of fields. See: http://jrse.aip.org/

ABOUT AIP

The American Institute of Physics is a federation of 10 physical science societies representing more than 135,000 scientists, engineers, and educators and is one of the world's largest publishers of scientific information in the physical sciences. Offering partnership solutions for scientific societies and for similar organizations in science and engineering, AIP is a leader in the field of electronic publishing of scholarly journals. AIP publishes 12 journals (some of which are the most highly cited in their respective fields), two magazines, including its flagship publication Physics Today; and the AIP Conference Proceedings series. Its online publishing platform Scitation hosts nearly two million articles from more than 185 scholarly journals and other publications of 28 learned society publishers.

American Institute of Physics

Related Sustainable Energy Articles from Brightsurf:

Renewable energy targets can undermine sustainable intentions
Renewable energy targets (RETs) may be too blunt a tool for ensuring a sustainable future, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Upcycling plastic waste toward sustainable energy storage
UC Riverside engineering professors Mihri and Cengiz Ozkan and their students have been working for years on creating improved energy storage materials from sustainable sources, such as glass bottles, beach sand, Silly Putty, and portabella mushrooms.

First measurement of electron energy distributions, could enable sustainable energy technologies
To answer a question crucial to technologies such as energy conversion, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan, Purdue University and the University of Liverpool in the UK have figured out a way to measure how many 'hot charge carriers' -- for example, electrons with extra energy -- are present in a metal nanostructure.

Can sub-Saharan Africa achieve sustainable access to energy for all by 2030?
In 2019, the global population without access to electricity dipped below 1 billion for the first time.

An all-organic proton battery energized for sustainable energy storage
Sustainable energy storage is in great demand. Researchers at Uppsala University have therefore developed an all-organic proton battery that can be charged in a matter of seconds.

Mandatory building energy audits alone do not overcome barriers to energy efficiency
A pioneering law may be insufficient to incentivize significant energy use reductions in residential and office buildings, a new study finds.

Towards a sustainable future -- Novel technology to measure energy conversion efficiency
Conversion of energy is a constant process but measuring the efficiency of this conversion is not an easy task.

Model shows how to make on-farm sustainable energy projects profitable
Researchers have developed a model that could boost investment in farm-based sustainable energy projects by allowing investors to more accurately predict whether a project will turn a profit.

Sustainable supply of minerals and metals key to a low-carbon energy future
The global low-carbon revolution could be at risk unless new international agreements and governance mechanisms are put in place to ensure a sustainable supply of rare minerals and metals, a new academic study has warned.

Mapping the energy transport mechanism of chalcogenide perovskite for solar energy use
Researchers from Lehigh University have, for the first time, revealed first-hand knowledge about the fundamental energy carrier properties of chalcogenide perovskite CaZrSe3, important for potential solar energy use.

Read More: Sustainable Energy News and Sustainable Energy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.