Sunshine comes free of cost but electricity produced using it is expensive. The reason is expensive silicon based solar panels and space intensive technology. Commercial solar power projects require huge initial capital expenditure that often makes them nonviable. But the situation could soon change.
A team of researchers from University of Notre Dame was engaged in developing alternatives to silicon based solar technology. In a recent breakthrough, they have developed semiconducting nanoparticle from titanium dioxide. These nanoparticles generate electricity when exposed to sunlight.
According to the research report from Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), these nanoparticles, coated with cadmium sulfide or cadmium selenide, can be suspended in alcohol and water based mixtures to prepare a spreadable paint. Any conductive surface, coated with this paint, can generate electricity from sunlight.
However, the light to energy conversion efficiency of these paint-on nanoparticles is not satisfactory. When 10-15 percent conversion efficiencies are common from silicon based regular solar panels, this newly developed spreadable solar cells converts just 1 percent of light into electric energy.
The researchers also claim that these nanoparticles are cheaper to produce even in large quantities and can be used in spaces where normal solar panels cannot be installed. To make this technology effective, they are working on to improve light to energy conversion efficiency. If they succeed in making these spreadable solar cells commercially viable, then in near future we would be painting our buildings’ outside walls with this innovative paint to satiate the energy thirst of regular household devices inside.