Published on August 29th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan7
Spray-on Solar Cells from Mitsubishi
You probably don’t think of cleantech when you think of Mitsubishi, but it’s been pushing its name into the field lately. A couple years ago, it broke the PV solar cell efficiency record. This year, it unveiled solar-powered EV charging stations at it headquarters in Cypress, California. And I’ve just read that it is developing spray-on solar cells.
Now, spray-on solar power technology has been in the works and popping up in the news from time to time for years. In February 2009, we wrote about some spray-on solar panels Australian researchers are working on. Later that year, we wrote that scientists at the University of Texas in Austin were working on spray-on solar cells of their own. In January 2010, we covered a spray-on solar power technology breakthrough by New Energy Technologies. And Tina has covered this and related solar technologies this year already. But, unless I’m mistaken, solar panel spray isn’t yet available at your local hardware store. So, the race to develop a market-ready product is still on.
Mitsubishi is apparently in the race, as Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. recently unveiled that it has developed a spray-on solar technology that could put solar cells on buildings, vehicles, chimneys, or even clothing.
Less than 1 millimeter in thickness and not even a tenth the weight of crystalline solar cells of the same size, these spray-on solar cells have some clear advantages beyond the fact that they can be applied so easily to such a range of surfaces.
Mitsubishi intends to work with some carmakers to make a car coated in these solar cells and projects that such a car could go 10 kilometers (over 6 miles) after a 2-hour charge.
Mitsubishi’s Spray-on Solar Cell Technology
“The new solar cells utilize carbon compounds which, when dried and solidified, act as semiconductors and generate electricity in reaction to being exposed to light,” The Independent reports.
“Mitsubishi Chemical is the first company to create prototype spray-on solar cells, which at present have a practical conversion level of 10.1 percent of light energy into electricity.”
Of course, 10.1 percent doesn’t compare to the 20 percent or so efficiency level of standard crystalline silicon solar cells, but Mitsubishi is confident it can get to 15 percent by 2015 and 20 percent eventually. We’ll see. And you can bet someone from CleanTechnica will report on it if they do.
Image Credit: Mitsubishi Chemical Corp.