Melbourne researchers have successfully created Australia's largest and most flexible solar cells, with the aid of a new printer located at CSIRO. The scientists are part of a collaboration between research and industry partners called the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium VICOSC. This was achieved through the collaboration between The University of Melbourne and the Bio21 Institute, CSIRO, Monash University and industry partners including Bluescope Steel and security printing firm Innovia Security. In just three years the consortium has gone from making cells the size of a fingernail, to cells 10 centimetres square.
They are now able to print organic photovoltaic cells the size of an A3 sheet of paper. The consortium is now leading the world in the ability to print solar cells and using different printing technologies, but this is the beginning of the story. We're still developing the technologies, still developing the materials to enable us to print in a number of different ways for different applications. The new printer can roll out 10 metres of solar cells per minute, which is equivalent to producing one cell every two seconds. Using semiconducting inks, the researchers print the cells.
Straight onto paperthin flexible plastic or steel. So what we're looking at is, how can we use this technology in the short term, how can we print solar cells to enable advertising, can we put solar cells on to advertising material in shopping centres to drive an active display. So if somebody wants to advertise something with nice flashing lights then at the moment they drive that with batteries. In the longer term we see these materials being able to be coated on to buildings, into windows and on roofs to provide.
Power in a wide variety of locations and circumstances. As part of the consortium, graduate students working alongside scientists are involved in training and development programs to improve the technology in the long term. We're now right up there with the rest of the people in the world but we've also got a facility which is different. We now have a process through our collaboration where we take things from the very very beginning, from designing materials, from making devices in the lab scale right through the large scale printing, which is very very unusual in the world context.
Printing Australias largest solar cells
Dr Scott Watkins We're really pleased to commission what is now Australia's largest facility for printing thin film solar cells. This equipment that has been purchased over the last few months and commissioned in our labs here in Melbourne will enable us to print A3 size solar cells. We've rapidly scaled up making our devices from fingernail size in the lab to A3 size devices that are fully printed now. And at this size we're definitely up there with the best in the world. In the short term we're looking for applications in consumer devices.
Printing Australias largest solar cells extended version
Dr Scott Watkins We're really pleased to commission what is now Australia's largest facility for printing thin film solar cells. This equipment that has been purchased over the last few months and commissioned in our labs here in Melbourne will enable us to print A3 size solar cells. We've rapidly scaled up making our devices from fingernails size in the lab to A3 size devices that are fully printed now. And at this size we're definitely up there with the best in the world. In the short term we're looking for applications in consumer devices.
And small integrated electronics. In the longer term we see these materials being able to be coated onto buildings, into windows and on roofs to provide power in a wide variety of locations and circumstances. Dr David Jones One of the advantages of the technology that we're developing is we're actually using off the shelf printers, printers you can go out and buy. And therefore we're using a screen printer, one that you would normally use in label manufacture or screen printing of tshirts or other things. So these are commercially available printers.
So the outcome of this will be prototype demonstrators that we can give to a number of people to examine what the capability of the new technology is. Dr YiBing Cheng I do see this project is a very good example of a collaboration involves both, involves the CSIRO, Monash University and Melbourne University. And that we have a very close collaboration with people working each others laboratory and we have regular meetings every two weeks. We do see that through this kind of collaboration and we can build up a critical mass and.
Sticky tape the key to ultrathin solar cells
We are working on a new semiconductor, it's called black phosphorus or phosphorene. Ultra thin, ultra light and also with wavelength tunability which can offer us to fabricate lots of interesting devices such as LED and solar cells. We used the similar away that was used to fabricate graphene to fabricate phosphorene. We use the scotch tape to thin down the material from the box state to a few layers and finally to monolayer. We successfully identify the monolayer bilayer and triplelayers up to a few layers and then we precisely determined the.
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Stanford Start.Home Solar Panels
We decided to go with thin film. We liked that it was a pretty new technology that's actually getting better and better. There's a lot of great things about it. First, it's a lot cheaper than monocrystalline and it's also uses a lot less material. It's just a thin sheet of glass then, then the semiconductor layer. And so we really like that about these panels. And with a onthegrid system, like our house, you're actually selling electricity back to the grid. And then the great thing about it is that you produce the.
Most PV energy, photovoltaic energy during the day, when the sun's out. And that's actually when you would pay the most for it from the electric company. And so you're selling it back at those critical peak demand times, reducing the overall load on the system. We're using a standing steamed sheet metal roof, and it has these ridges in it so that you can actually use these clip products and just attach the, the PV panels to the roof. So that really reduces the amount of time it takes to install these PVs.
Rural Australia and the Renewable Energy Target
The drought, it's awe consuming. You come home and you know that you're going to have to try and sleep and get up and do it all again. We were approached to host a wind farm, we're reaping the benefits of a decision in a really tough time through the drought. If the government cut the renewable energy target, all of that opportunity has disappeared overnight, it's gone offshore. The best way to support famers is to have a stable renewable energy target that encourages investment in regional Australia. I'm not a scientist, I'm not an economist either, but it's pretty simple isn't it.
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