CSIRO’s Flexible Electronics team are developing new materials and processes.
Low cost energy, using organic photovoltaics
CSIRO’s Flexible Electronics team are developing new materials and processes to enable high throughput, low cost reel-to-reel printable electronics for the production of thin film organic photovoltaic solar cells.
24 August 2011 | Updated 4 February 2013
Most commercially available solar cells are made from a refined, highly purified silicon crystal, similar to those used in the manufacture of integrated circuits and computer chips.
The high cost of these silicon solar cells and their complex production process has generated considerable interest in developing alternative solar cell technologies using organic photovoltaics.
CSIRO's Flexible Electronics research team are world leaders in the global race to create this new generation of solar cells.
The benefits of using organic photovoltaics (OPV's) for the production of solar cells include:
The major challenges facing developers of OPV's are to:
Even small improvements in energy conversion efficiency, product durability and capacity for large-scale production of organic polymers will make a compelling economic case for the widespread adoption of organic solar cell technologies.
In addition to the economic advantages, the ability to print solar cells onto thin film substrates will enable the deployment of energy generation systems in a completely new way, at a local level, allowing solar cells to be built into building components and furnishings, enabling energy to be generated where it is used, in the home, factory or workplace.
About the Team
CSIRO's Flexible Electronics research team are world leaders in the global race to create this new generation of solar cells through the development of new kinds of solar cells, lighting and flexible displays based on printable electronics.
The team have a unique competitive advantage in their understanding of structure-property relationships in electronic materials.
Generating energy by printable electronics creates the potential for high resource efficiency with little redundancy or wasted materials. It will take just 10 tonnes of plastic to produce that 100 000 km of film, about the same amount required to produce a container of plastic bags.
Solar cells of the future will be flexible, will weigh less, cost less and will be characterised by their environmentally friendly properties.
Learn more about CSIRO's Future Manufacturing Flagship.