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New Process Fabricates Efficient Reclyclable Solar Cells Using Natural Substrates

Photo of Solar cells fabricated on cellulose nanocrystal films open the door for truly recyclable solar cell technology. ThinkstockSolar cells fabricated on cellulose nanocrystal films open the door for truly recyclable solar cell technology. ThinkstockSnapshot : Solar cells fabricated on optically transparent cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) films reach a power conversion efficiency of 2.7 percent, an unprecedented figure for cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials. Additionally, these solar cells can be easily separated and recycled into their major components using low-energy processes at room temperature, opening the door for a truly recyclable solar cell technology.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Moon, Robert J. 
Research Location : Georgia Institute of Technology; PurdueUniversity
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 447

Summary

A joint research effort between the Forest Service's Forest Products Laboratory, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Purdue University has developed efficient, reclyclable solar cells using natural substrates. The cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates on which the solar cells are fabricated are optically transparent, enabling light to pass through them before being absorbed by a very thin layer of an organic semiconductor. The low surface roughness of the CNC films is critical for the thin polymer solar cells to work efficiently. During the recycling process, the solar cells are simply immersed in water at room temperature. Within only minutes, the CNC substrate dissolves and the solar cell can be separated easily into its major components.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • PurdueUniversity

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