Lately, there were so many news regarding inventions of new solar cell types, that I don’t know what’s more true or more efficient. The good thing is that they’re all going to offer alternatives to our messy way of producing energy out of fossils.
Scientists from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Northwestern University invented a silicon solar cell. The interesting fact is that it’s flexible and it can be printed on a curved surface or a fabric. Although solar paint has been produced, there are a few situations where you’d rather use more solid solar cells (like porous surfaces, where paint cannot be applied well).
How did they do that? Well, they sliced rigid silicon wafers into millions of pieces up to 100 times thinner than a normal one, and placed them on a flexible material.The silicon crystal used is highly efficient.
The thing the scientists couldn’t figure out was what generally scientists don’t know how to do: if the increased production costs of the solar cell are compensated by the use of less material, or, simpler said, they had to do some simple math instead of complicated logarithms, sums and integrals. Maybe they need an economist to do that. Just kidding.