aNewDomain.net — In Australia scientists are printing ultra thin and light weight solar panels. From 3D printers. Check out this video. The scientists are using off the shelf printers — they’re commercially available — to create futuristic A3-sized thin film solar cells. Check out the 3D printing solar cells video, below.
Video Source: CSIRO
According to one researcher at the University of Melbourne, the scientists have already “commissioned Australia’s largest facility” for the purpose of creating thin film solar cells. The devices, A3-sized, will eventually find their ways onto roofs, windows and as coatings for buildings.
The venture, coordinated by CSIRO, aims to use 3D printers to pour a layer of liquid photovoltaic ink onto a flexible thin plastic material. Eventually, scientists at CSIRO told journalists, it’ll be possible for anyone to print their own 3D solar cell panels at home.
The 3D printing of solar panels isn’t new. What’s exciting here is the use of regular 3D printers to be able to manufacturer, basically on demand, the lightest and most powerful thin film solar cells ever.
The CSIRO technology, just recently unveiled, has been in the labs for nearly five years. Experts at Monash and Melbourne Universities are exploring all kinds of applications for the ultra thin material.
The material, similar in feel to a slick glossy magazine cover, could be poured onto anything — even a computer screen to give it extra batterly life. So far, the scientists say they believe they will be able to easily 3D print 30 cm wide panels. They’ll generate about 35 watts of power — up to 50 watts max — per square meter, scientists say. The size and wattage will only increase over time, researchers say, and they’ll soon last longer than the six month life researchers now estimate on the prototype designs.
These will be the largest, most flexible, easiest to manufacture and, definitely, most interesting solar panel tech yet to hit the market, by any account. Developing …
Based in Australia, David Michaelis is an award-winning international journalist and producer, and co-founder of LinkTV. He covers the global scitech beat for us here at aNewDomain.net. Watch for his regular column, The OpScimist.