Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Solar Power: Australian scientists successfully print solar panels
21 May 2013

3D printing is all the rage at the moment, from the debate over 3D printed guns to plans to print pizza with a 3D food printer. Scientists in Australia, however, have shown that regular printing can still do amazing things too. Researchers at Australia's Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC)--a collaboration between the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the University of Melbourne, Monash University and industry partners--have successfully printed an A3 sheet of photovoltaic cells.

The sheets are the largest flexible, plastic solar cells that have been printed in Australia, having gone from printing cells the size of a finger nail just a few years ago. Research Dr David Jones eventually sees the cells, which produce 10 50 watts of power per m², "being laminated to windows that line skyscrapers [and] we'll also be able to embed cells onto roofing materials". Given the cost of the printer alone, $200,000, and its size (see below), this is not exactly the kind of thing that just anyone can start doing.