Solar panels are not exactly as efficient as we would like them to be, and the manufacturing process isn’t that environmentally friendly either, but when you take into consideration the amount of energy generated over the course of its lifetime while reducing the amount of greenhouse emissions, it is a tradeoff that most of humanity are willing to take. What if there are other alternatives around? A bunch of researchers who hail from the University of Notre Dame in Indiana are said to have developed a “solar paint” which might be the catalyst to implement renewable energy technology worldwide. This new material is still far away from the conversion efficiencies of commercial silicon solar cells, with further work, researchers claim it will be far cheaper to produce, and can be done in large quantities, too.
Prashant Kamat, an investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano) says, “The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached so far is 1 percent, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15 percent efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells. But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future.” Would be interesting to see how much juice buildings coated with such paint can generate in the future when this technology is perfected.