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Technology: Roll on cheap solar energy
Thin film plastics being developed in the United States can provide cheap and convenient forms of solar energy.
The idea is that the conductive film can be rolled up like a wallpaper, so that it can be carried easily, but, when flat in the sun, the solar energy is captured and converted into electric energy.
Alvin mark of Advanced Research and Development said that it can provide the cheapest energy known (ARDI)
A company based in atatathol, Massachusetts
The materials used are very cheap and can provide 1 cent/watt of electricity, says Mark.
The cheapest cost of electricity at the moment is about $1, he said. 5 per watt.
Adi is working with the US Department of Energy at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicagoyear,$1.
8 million \"solar energy-cell-on-a-roll’.
Mark says the price of this film is just a fraction of the price of silicon semiconductor materials that make up most of today\'s solar cells.
The tensile film developed in ARDI is a polymer based on polyacetylene.
Due to the long chain conduction electrons of acetylene monomer, the film transmits electricity.
Mark and his colleagues wanted to use the elements developed by Michael vasirierski in Agon to make the film more perfect.
These molecules convert solar light into charge to simulate photosynthesis: the way plants use chlorophyll to get solar energy.
Early versions of molecules constructed by Wasielewski have three components that can absorb and capture light energy together.
A component called calleda porphyrin captures light energy.
Another component called quinone is negatively charged, and the third component is positively charged, enabling molecules to convert solar energy into electrical energy.
These molecules capture nearly 70 of solar energy as charges (
Technology, September 14, 1991).
But the energy that Wasielewski\'s improved molecules can now capture.
The goal of the researchers is to implant the molecule into a conductive film so that the polymer chain will conduct the charge stored in the molecule to the electrodes at both ends of the film.
One of the electrodes will be positively charged and the other will be negatively charged.
The electrode is connected to the wire to form a circuit.
We believe that one of the limiting factors will be the loss of efficiency when the molecules are coupled with the film.