Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Nanotechnology driven efficient Solar Cells

For years we have been hearing and reading about nanotechnology and how it is the next big thing. Now we might just see the next killer application coming from nanotech research.

Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a paint that could replace solar cells. Being a paint, it can be coated over all sorts of surfaces. Moreover it is infrared-sensitive and five times more efficient than current methods.

The discovery could lead to shirts and sweaters capable of recharging our cellphones and other wireless devices, said Ted Sargent, professor of electrical and computer engineering at the university...

...there's enough power from the sun hitting the Earth every day to supply all the world's needs for energy 10,000 times over," Sargent said...
Though with the new technology scientists cannot claim to harness all the solar energy falling on a surface, and it is also at least 5 years away, it still makes for a significant advancement. Consider for example the following implications for solar power plants:
  1. What if the efficiency of existing solar power plants could be pushed up by 5 times?
  2. If the material is going to be cheap enough to put on shirts, how much cheaper does that make setting up a solar power plant?
No wonder that venture capitalists are all excited over this development.