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Published on January 23rd, 2009 | by Ariel Schwartz


Solarmer Energy Developing Plastic Solar Cells for Portable Electronics

January 23rd, 2009 by  

plastic cells

Plastic solar cells are coming soon to a portable gadget near you thanks to University of Chicago researchers and Solarmer Energy. Solarmer’s prototype plastic cell measures 8 square inches and is expected to have 8 percent efficiency as well as a three-year lifespan. Until now, plastic solar cells have only been able to reach 5 to 6 percent efficiency.

The key to the Solarmer cell’s increased efficiency is a semiconducting material dubbed PTB1 that converts sunlight into electricity. PTB1’s active layer is only 100 nanometers thick (the width of 1,000 atoms).

Solarmer expects to have a commercial-grade prototype ready later this year.

Photo Credit: Science Daily 


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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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