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Solar Ink???

  • CIG
  • Indium Corporation
  • Solar
  • Environmental initiatives coupled with the recent run-up when oil achieved $150 per barrell has put alternative energy back on the table. Solar energy was readily considered given its very "clean" and available nature. However, how can the average person, in their day to day life, take advantage of solar energy. Visions of roofs covered with (expensive and perhaps unattractive) solar panels and apparatus come to mind.
    Well, an article in Photonics Media called "Painting the roof with solar ink" by Anne Fischer puts an interesting twist on capturing the suns rays for the sake of generating electricity. A company in the San Francisco Bay area, Innovalight, manufactures a solar ink comprised of silicon nanoparticles that can be suspended in a liquid. The "ink" can then be applied to flexible or rigid surfaces by means of "spray painting". Therefore, rendering virtually any surface that is exposed to the sun, a solar collector. Efficiency is said to be on the order of 18% currently. A company in China, JA Solar, has plans to commercialize this technology.
    One of the founders of Innovalight, Brian Korgel, is trying to apply this approach to CIGS. Work done at the University of Texas has achieved 1% efficiency. The goal is 10% before going commercial and is anticpated to take 3 to 5 years