Heliatek develops organic material for solar panelsApril 22, 2012
Organic material could be the key to energy harvesting windows
Heliatek, a Germany-based alternative energy technology startup, has developed a new type of solar panel using organic molecules. The company specializes in researching and developing organic photovoltaic solar panels. Other companies in the U.S. (SolarWindows) and the UK (Oxford PV), but these companies have been met with challenges in creating a marketable product. Heliatek believes that it has found a way to produce commercial, lightweight solar panel materials that can be used to create energy harvesting windows.
Flexible, lightweight material for a new kind of solar panel
Heliatek researchers have coated a polyster film with organic molecules that are capable of capturing sunlight and converting it into electricity. The polyster film is somewhat flexible and is reminiscent to the material used for the screens of mobile devices. Because of its flexibility and light weight, the material can be used to fashion a new kind of solar panel: One that is transparent and can, theoretically, be used as a window.
Cost remains a major issue for new solar technologies
The material is not without its faults, unfortunately. The most significant drawback of the material is that it is not capable of generating large amounts of electricity. The performance of the materials falls well below that of materials used to create conventional photovoltaic solar panels. Even if the energy production of the material is increased, it is unlikely to be able to compete with traditional solar panels. Heliatek notes that this lack of power generation is made up for the material’s increased flexibility, durability, and efficiency.
Heliatek’s solar panel material is still in very early stages of production. As such, the material is quite expensive. The company is currently looking to attract more investors in order to build a new factory where the material can be produces in greater quantities. Like with other alternative energy technologies, cost will play a major factor in the success of the material. If costs remain high, consumers and companies are unlikely to adopt solar panels made of the material, preferring to make use of other available forms of alternative energy.
Article: Heliatek develops organic material for solar panels
Article Source: Hydrogen Fuel News
Author: Stephen Vagus