Printable Solar Panels are More Science than Science Fiction
Yesterday we featured the world’s first 3D printable wind turbine. That’s not the only form of renewable energy that’s looking to become printable, however.
A team of scientists at the National Science Agency of Australia (CSIRO), working in conjunction with Melbourne and Monash universities, have developed a printable solar panel. These entities combine to form the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium.
The project, which began in 2007, is edging closer and closer to becoming a consumer reality. The technology could have applications in phones, laptops, and rooftops.
“iPad covers, laptop bags, skins of iPhone [will not be] just for casing electronics [anymore] but to collect some energy as well and power those electronics,” Senior Research Director at CSIRO Dr. Fiona Scholes said.
The printing process was developed in 2011 and utilizes solar ink.
The commercial applications are particularly exciting, as they’re not only efficient, but cost effective.
“It's very cheap. The way in which it looks and works is quite different to conventional silicon rooftop solar,” she said. “It can be made to be semitransparent—we can use it for a tinted window scenario.”
The applications are not dissimilar to those of the transparent solar panels developed at Michigan State University. The panels could be used as windows, building covering, and other unobtrusive applications in order to power various things.
“They could potentially be used in a whole range of applications such as consumer product packaging, windows and window furnishings, temporary structures, remote locations and developing communities,” Scholes told Mashable.
There’s still a ways to go in developing the tech, though.
“We would like to improve the efficiency of solar panels—we need to develop solar inks to generate more energy from sunlight… We are confident we can push the technology further in the years to come,” Scholes said.
Still, printable solar panels are that much closer to becoming a reality.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.