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Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jul 29

Hybrid Organic Solar Cells Now More Efficient

Posted in Energy Industry | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power

Hybrid Organic Solar Cells Success greets the research team of National Research Council’s National Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT) and the University of Alberta. The plastic solar cells have now an operating life of 8 months instead of mere hours. And they are low-cost, environmentally efficient, unsealed plastic dollar cells – a green energy source. Developing economically viable plastic solar panels and to produce them in large scale has been the long time goal for the scientists as the cost of ultra high-purity silicon used in the traditionally manufactured solar cells is quite prohibitive. These are the solar cells of future – to be available to common man easily. A University of Alberta-NINT team has been focusing on this for quite some time.

Prototype solar cell:

A multi-disciplinary team has been successful in developing a prototype solar panel. It was operating at high capacity for about 10 hours. After that, problems developed within which reduced the efficiency of solar cells. They found that electrode’s chemical coating was the root cause of the problem. For past few months, work has been going on to correct this problem.

Role of electrode:

Producing power from solar cells is the key responsibility of electrodes and the research team found that the unstable chemical coating started leaking around the circuitry of the solar cell and reduced production capacity. They developed a new coating which solved this problem.

New polymer coating:

The team led by David Rider, consisting of Michael J. Brett, Jillian Buriak from U of A-NINT has been successful in developing a durable and longer lasting coating of polymer for the electrode which stopped the chemical leaking that reduced the production capacity. This new polymer coated electrode makes the solar cell work at high capacity continuously.

Success story:

At the time David Rider and colleagues presented their research paper in Advanced Functional Materials on June 22, 2010, the solar prototype cell had performed already for 500 hours at high capacity. In the highly competitive field of plastic solar-cell technology, this research by U of A-NINT team is considered to be a great achievement. And the cell continued to work for 8 months altogether before being damaged in transit between laboratories.


The future looks bright for hybrid organic solar cells. In Rider’s words “Inexpensive, lightweight plastic solar-cell products, like a blanket or sheet that can be rolled up, will change the solar energy industry”.

  • Luis Castellanos

    If this solar cells are sold in the market very soon many people are going to have solar cell trees in their backyards giving enough energy to charge theirs plug-in hybrid vehicles.

  • Jim Jonas

    Not surprising in time this is the way the World has gone after the way to get away from oil. When is the United States going to stop giving away the Americans right to stop oil,or more importantly allow our Country not to give Iran and Saudi Arabia who has made alternatives a priority my money and if this really creates jobs both Parties should be careful if they wish to stay in office. There raise is your and my vote. Look out. You maybe out. Energy bill back burner again? Please you all need to be excused. ALL You have a Job to Do no one goes home no one. We have spent billions on Hydrogen so people it is cleaner than Electric. I still say Lets make it happen.


    Its really a terrific achievement done so far. It will be a revolution in the energy field. The great great achievement done by the team. best of luck for the future.

  • countrydoc

    It all sounds good. We are always on the verge of a breakthrough. Please make it happen before the oil system collapses.

  • Doug Wilson

    I think it’s a sign someone is on the right track. Life has already perfected the solar panel. If we just copy life in all things (to the best of our abilities) we’ll wind up with something safe and useful.

  • Beverly Wallace

    I would like to learn more about this plastic dollar cell. When will it become available for production, etc.

    I help individuals when they are in need locate funding. Please keep my contact info handy for future reference.

    Thank you

  • Sarfraz Ahmad

    First of all.. Good luck to the team and we all hope that this breakthrough will bring a lot of goodness to the humankind.

  • styke

    “The plastic solar cells have now an operating life of 8 months instead of mere hours.”

    Going from a product with a ten hour life to a product with an 8 month life is a big jump, but it is still useless. I would hate to have to throw away my old panels every 8 months and buy new ones.

  • menglin

    Hello every one, the more information about solar power I study the more I am interested in. In my perspective, all the difficult abysses are costing down the price, otherwise, as a normal people, could not be able to afford the Luxurious expense~

    Could anyone suggest me where to study and do the research for my graduate school which is famous for their solar panel studies? I am now a college student who have desperation to the eco-energy study in Taiwan.

  • Mike Nemeth

    Very custom and an impressive development. Perhaps would open new markets — but hopefully not disposable solar power.


    cant wait for tha array of products that could spring up from this.

  • chris

    Depending on cost, 8 months might not be so bad depending on their output. If the cost of the panels is countered by the amount someone might save on their electric bill, the only thing to worry about is where to recycle them. I’m sure the government would even offer tax credits for purchasing them. Anything and everything that might help us curb our energy crisis is something. We just need to keep this technology to ourselves and only export it. We need other countries to be dependent on us for something besides cynical humor.
    Eventually it won’t matter whether or not the house or the senate stand behind any of this. It will all be in the hands of private organizations and will get done with or without them. However, I would like to point out that the Obama administration did give over 2 billion for fuel cell R&D last August. In comparison to the other spending, it’s still pretty marginal, but at least it’s something.

  • Jim

    “We just need to keep this technology to ourselves and only export it. We need other countries to be dependent on us for something besides cynical humor.”

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Not sharing a breakthrough in green technology? So you’d rather the rest of the world continue to pollute and deplete natural resources?

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