Plastic Fantastic Solar Photovoltaics - A Printable Dream Coming True
"The ultimate nerd gadget" Image credit:GlobalPOV, excerpt from photo of printer out-puting plastic love doll.
For years I've been watching for news of an engineering break-though which indicated polymer-based solar photo-voltaic sheets could become cheap to manufacture and long lasting, perhaps using a process akin to computer printing. (Which would mean that solar power would at last enter the domain of computer geeks.)
Ideally, it would lead to a fabrication process which could be patented and kept under tight wraps during development: necessary to keep industrial spies at bay; so it would bring green jobs first and foremost to the USA. (Don't expect many details before prototypes are shown to potential investors.)
As transformational R&D; typically takes a several streams of work and decade or more to coalesce at the point of a pilot test, it's been a difficult optimism to maintain. But finally...An engineering researcher from Princeton University, has just announced some very positive steps in the direction of this dream: mainly, the ability to make a conductive polymer film that retains conductivity when stretched or compressed, and bypassing the need for expensive and rare indium tin oxide (ITO).
There are printers involved.