The boffins at Massey University’s Nanomaterials Research Centre in New Zealand have come up with an organic form of solar power generating technology that will produce electricity from sunlight at a fraction of the cost of current technologies. The new tech – which uses photo-sensitive natural dyes to create solar cells instead of silicon – are also more useful in cloudy conditions, which is pretty neat. Green tech from down under. Now that’s progress for you.
Dr Campbell says that unlike the silicon-based solar cells currently on the market, the 10×10cm green demonstration cells generate enough electricity to run a small fan in low-light conditions – making them ideal for cloudy climates. The dyes can also be incorporated into tinted windows that trap the solar energy to generate electricity. He says the green solar cells are more environmentally friendly than silicon-based cells as they are made from titanium dioxide – a plentiful, renewable and non-toxic white mineral obtained from New Zealand’s black sand. Titanium dioxide is already used in consumer products such as toothpaste, white paints and cosmetics.