Science is such a cocktease:
New research may open the way to dirt-cheap solar cells that can be made anywhere with simple equipment.
Assuming they can increase the power output by about a factor of 10. Then again in the past decade they've increased the energy output using this technique by a factor of ten thousand.
Graetzel BTW is the leading researcher in the related field of dye-sensitized solar cells where he has raised energy output significantly. If anyone can do this it's probably Graetzel.That’s the vision of MIT researcher Andreas Mershin, whose work appears this week in the open-access journal Scientific Reports. The work is an extension of a project begun eight years ago by Shuguang Zhang, a principal research scientist and associate director at MIT’s Center for Biomedical Engineering. Zhang was senior author of the new paper along with Michael Graetzel of Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.
In his original work, Zhang was able to enlist a complex of molecules known as photosystem-I (PS-I), the tiny structures within plant cells that carry out photosynthesis. Zhang and colleagues derived the PS-I from plants, stabilized it chemically and formed a layer on a glass substrate that could — like a conventional photovoltaic cell — produce an electric current when exposed to light.
Now Mershin says the process has been simplified to the point that virtually any lab could replicate it — including college or even high school science labs — allowing researchers around the world to start exploring the process and making further improvements. The new system’s efficiency is 10,000 times greater than in the previous version — although in converting just 0.1 percent of sunlight’s energy to electricity, it still needs to improve another tenfold or so to become useful, he says.