Sustainability and going green seems to be the buzz words commonly used these days amongst corporations, although there are limitations to sustainable technology that make it less appealing than its traditional counterpart. For example electric vehicles that not only have a considerable shorter range than their petrol counterparts, but the time it takes to charge an electric vehicle and the availability of chargers makes it a bit inconvenient.
While the boffins are probably hard at work trying to figure out the electric vehicle, Swedish company Sol Voltaics has announced today that they have found a way to use nanotechnology to build solar cell modules that they claim are 25% more efficient than the current cells available in the market.
Naming their creation SolInk, these are nanowire inks that the company hopes to begin producing at pilot scale in 2015, and commercial scale in 2016. This innovation was made possible through the use of a highly efficient semiconductor, gallium arsenic, a material which is normally expensive, but thanks to the company’s breakthrough search, courtesy of the company’s founded Professor Lars Samuelson, the gallium arsenide nanowires are made in gas phase rather than in a solid phase, thus be able to make use of the expensive component more efficiently and on a larger scale.
In a research paper published in Science journal this year, the folks at Sol Voltaic and Lund University have managed to demonstrate the efficiency of their nanowires. They covered 12% of a solar cell surface and saw an increase in efficiency of 13.8%. The results were then certified by the Fraunhofer Institute research center in Munich.
Sol Voltaics plans to target Chinese and other silicon solar makers who are struggling to produce solar panels, and who are usually producing them at a loss. Assuming Sol Voltaics manages to convince these manufacturers that this could not only help improve efficiency but reduce costs, we could see a huge surge and interest in solar panels in the next few years.