The innovation was designed by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University. The team used cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates that can be found in trees and behave like glass.
The glass sheets found in regular solar panels are replaced by CNCs, while the semiconductor material is organic.
According to one of the authors of the study published in the journal Scientific Reports, Bernard Kippelen, Director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, using recyclable organic solar cells is essential, because problems with disposal of used panels defeat the purpose of clean renewable energy.
Solar power is becoming increasingly popular among many countries, but the operational life of a panel is roughly 20-25 years. The waste produced by each MW of solar panels equals 75 tons.