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Originally published August 3 2010

Research team develops new 'organic' solar cell technology

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) have developed a new "organic" solar cell technology that utilizes a flexible film design to collect energy. These organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells are able to capture sunlight even when bent at various angles, giving them an edge over current solar cell technology.

"Organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells have been proposed as a means to achieve low cost energy due to their ease of manufacture, light weight, and 'compatibility with flexible substrates'," explained Chongwu Zhou, professor of electrical engineering at USC's Viterbi School of Engineering, in a recent paper published in the journal ACS Nano.

The OPV cells do not capture solar energy as efficiently as silicon cells do, but they are far less expensive to produce and offer a much wider range of potential uses. Three years ago, the USC team developed a way of effectively mass-producing the graphene film used in OPV cells, making them a viable new form of solar technology.

According to Gomez De Arco, a doctoral student at USC and member of the team that constructed the graphene OPV cells, it may soon be possible to "print" the OPV film like you would a newspaper, and embed it all sorts of applications.

"[The film] could be hung as curtains in homes or even made into fabric and be worn as power generating clothing. I can imagine people powering their cellular phone or music/video device while jogging in the sun," he explained.

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