Taking nature's cue for cheaper solar power

The news article at Massey News. (From Digg)

Solar cell technology developed by the University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre will enable New Zealanders to generate electricity from sunlight at a 10th of the cost of current silicon-based photo-electric solar cells.

Dr Wayne Campbell and researchers in the centre have developed a range of coloured dyes for use in dye-sensitised solar cells.

The synthetic dyes are made from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature. The green dye Dr Campbell is synthetic chlorophyll derived from the light-harvesting pigment plants use for photosynthesis.

And whereas silicon cells need direct sunlight to operate efficiently, these cells will work efficiently in low diffuse light conditions,” Dr Campbell says.

“The energy that reaches earth from sunlight in one hour is more than that used by all human activities in one year”.

This article Green leaves inspire solar cells goes into more details on synthetic chlorophyll.


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