Imagine if your T-shirt could power your mobile

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Image1467764285?1467764285  180 Seconds of Science





1. Summary

Imagine if solar cells could be cheap, lightweight, flexible and colourful.  They could be incorporated into our world in all manner of new, creative and affordable ways.  For example they could be placed on windows, awnings, car roofs, clothes and textiles, to power our everyday appliances and electronics. If the windows of the Eureka tower were covered with semi-transparent solar cells, you could easily provide power for more than 100 households. 

I’m part of a group at CSIRO Manufacturing, working towards this goal using solar cells that are printed onto plastic substrates using inks and solutions.

For these solar cells to be cheap and fully flexible, new transparent electrode materials are needed.  My research focuses on using nanotechnology to tackle this challenge.

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Muxina Muxina
over 1 year ago

Great research! What about recycling those plastic/silver flexible panels? Should we be worried about its content?

Ben McNeil
over 1 year ago

Awesome. Maybe have a tesla coated in them, recharging battery and you've just created a perpetual motion machine :)) great work!

Kallista Sears
over 1 year ago

Hi Muxina and Ben, Thank you for your comments.

Great question Muxina. It’s one I really need to look into some more.

The plastic substrate is just PET – the same as coke bottles, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
The solar cells use a very small amount of silver nanowires and the entire solar cells is encapsulated so there’s very little chance of exposure. My understanding is that the effects of silver nanomaterials on human health and the environment is still under debate and not yet fully understood.