Solar cells provide us with the most eco-friendly way to harnessing energy and creating electricity with emissions. However, the creation of solar cells themselves is pretty un-eco-friendly which sort of defeats the purpose they serve to an extent. However, researchers currently working at the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics at Georgia Tech and Purdue claim that they have created the solar cells using nothing more than the materials we find in trees. Using a renewable resource to create green technology, the researchers have created a new kind of organic solar cells that are disposable at the end of their lifecycle and are less dependence on fossil fuels for its production and recycling.
Using the same basic organic substrates that plants use for the chemical process that facilitates photosynthesis, the new organic solar cells convert around 2.7% of the solar energy they get into electricity. The number is pretty impressive when you consider that organic materials and not chemicals were used to create this amazing conversion.
An easily biodegradable structure called cellulose nanocrystal is used to mount these organic substrates which allows the solar cells to be recycled using nothing more than warm water when their useful life is over. The joint research team has thus created a more eco-friendly way to create and recycle technology that is used to provide green energy. The team is now working at trying to get these organic substrates to convert solar energy more efficiently and possibly even make double-digit conversion efficiency soon. Of course, the water soluble solar cells would need to be protected against rain and storms though that could easily be facilitated via glass or transparent waterproof encasing. The team hopes to get the solar cells into production within the next five years.