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Flexible solar cells

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posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 12:26 AM
Just caught this when I was reading through yesterdays Slashdot articles.

Imagine wearing a jacket or rucksack that charges up your mobile phone while you take a walk. Or a tent whose flysheet charges batteries all day so campers can have light all night. Or a roll-out plastic sheet you can place on a car's rear window shelf to power a child's DVD player.

Such applications could soon become a reality thanks to a light, flexible solar panel that is a little thicker than photographic film and can easily be applied to everyday fabrics. The thin, bendy solar panels, which could be on the market within three years, are the fruit of a three-nation European Union research project called H-Alpha Solar (H-AS).

This is awesome because before stiff photovoltaic cells were too expensive and implausible for curvy car bodies. Now you can imagine all sorts of irregular-shaped objects which could benefit from this.

Efficiency is somewhat low, but when you consider how many more applications it has than standard cells that's hardly a loss.

Kroesen's team has made its solar cells bendy simply by making them thin. But this has involved a trade-off. While the best solar cells are now working at efficiencies above 20%, the H-AS cells are only about 7% efficient. The researchers think efficiency is worth sacrificing for a cell that is going to be more generally useful, though they still hope eventually to reach 10% efficiency.

posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 02:16 AM
If you need some flexible ones, just go here...

I'm currently playing around with their Powerfilm products, they're pretty good for the price depending on your needs.

Have fun...

posted on Dec, 20 2004 @ 06:58 PM
Whoa, seems like a nice way to spend more time enjoying campus wireless internet service without needing a power outlet!

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