Cleantech Open 09 - LivinGreen Materials Makes Solar 50% More Efficient, 40% Cheaper

livingreen materials diagram image

Photo by Jaymi Heimbuch
LivinGreen Materials showed off their drop-in solution to creating more efficient, cheaper solar cells. And their claim is no small number. They say their solution - which would remove one layer from the solar cells currently manufactured and replace it with a layer created by their new technology - could improve efficiency by 50% all while making it cheaper to manufacture solar cells.
The new technology, called AggraLight, works with dye sensitized solar cells (DSC). It increases the surface area by structuring aggregates of nanoparticles, so the incoming sunlight bounces around more within the layer to reduce scattering and increase light capture.

According to the company, "Traditional DSC photoelectrodes consist of titanium dioxide nanoparticles, which are too small to scatter light and thus a large percentage of light passes through the DSC without being absorbed, limiting DSC efficiency. LGM's AggraLight is a powder consisting of hierarchically structured aggregates of nanoparticles, which provide unprecedented light scattering. AggraLight extends the light traveling distance withing the DSC photoelectrode layer, which increases the probability of light absorption and results in a dramatic increase in DSC efficiency."

That's where the efficiency comes in. The cheap manufacturing comes in with the fact that the system doesn't require any new infrastructure for DSC manufacturers, and uses less material.

The technology can be "dropped in" to existing manufacturing, and since the new layer is thinner than the layer being removed from the process, manufacturers can use less material and reduce cost of solar cells by as much as 40% per wat.

The markets that LivingGreen Materials sees their proprietary AggraLight photoelectrode boosting include consumer electronics such as cell phones with solar panels and other gadgets, smaller off-grid PV systems such as rooftop arrays for homes, and integrated building arrays such as glass facades. The total market for DSC, the company predicts, is between $560 million to $1.3 billion by 2015.

LivingGreen Materials was one of the finalists for this year's Cleantech Open. While they weren't one of the winners, it was a great opportunity to find venture capital funding, so we might see their technology incorporated into the growing DSC market in the next few years.

More on Solar Efficiency Breakthroughs
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