Taking advantage of solar energy is one of the ways we can forge forward into the future without relying on other forms of non-renewable energy that burden and erode the earth’s ecosystem even further, but advances in solar energy have been rather slow to say the least, with its efficiency levels in solar panels remaining relatively low – where we would have liked to see higher figures. Safatul Islam, a UA sophomore who is studying chemical engineering and mathematics, is part of a member of a team in the College of Optical Sciences who are currently looking into what could very well be the future of solar energy – organic photovoltaics.
Also known as OPVs, these are different from typical solar cells composed of semiconductors such as silicon since they make use of carbon-based polymers that can separate charges so that a current can be produced straight from the sun’s energy.
There is the rather huge shadow hanging over the research, which is OPVs might not be able to touch the conversion efficiency levels of their crystalline counterparts, although the upside is this – they don’t need to, especially when it is so much more affordable to manufacture, and just touching 10% efficiency would already make them a viable option on the market.
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