May 23 2013

A Better Solar Cell: Utilizing Solar Power in the Unexpected

Alternative energy is a highly sought after field that can make great strides in improving the sustainability of communities throughout the globe. Wind, biofuels, hydroelectric, and solar power are all forms of alternative energies that are becoming increasingly viable as well as powerful sources to be used in everyday life. Amongst these popular forms of alternative energy, harnessing the power of the sun remains one of the most sought after energy sources in creating a more green future.

Current Solar Panels

While the energy of the sun is a widely used form of alternative energy, it still remains expensive and relatively inefficient. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is looking to change this, however, by developing a better solar cell. With the help of Jinsong Huang, an assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at the university, researchers are searching and developing a more efficient way to harness the energy of the sun. Through research, it has been determined through the use of an organic polymer solar cell, as opposed to the silicon-based cells that are currently placed in today’s solar technology, that we can increase the efficiency of capturing and creating energy. The hope is to fully develop the improved cells, which will ultimately cut costs immensely, as well as aid in adapting solar energy in new and unexpected ways.

The organic polymer would allow solar energy to be more readily available in everyday life. With the pliability of the material it could be applied in many new applications. This new found pliability could one day replace what are now large and expensive solar panels and transform solar cells incorporating them into clothing, laptop bags, or even simply pasting them on preexisting windows on buildings, the possibilities are endless. I believe that this truly highlights the importance of progression in environmental progression and engineering. The power of science is truly an amazing thing that can propel our global community to a new level of sustainability.

As the City of Lincoln is seeing great strides in research, how do you see sustainability research making progress in your community?

Credits: Image by Lisa Gran. Data linked to sources.

Lisa Gran

Lisa Gran is an undergraduate student in her final semester of studying Biological Systems Engineering at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. As an aspiring engineer, Lisa is especially interested in the utilization and development of environmentally sound materials in sustainable planning and design. As she nears the end of her undergraduate studies, she plans on gearing a career in sustainable urban design and engineering principles, drawing inspiration from cities around the globe.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 at 9:41 am and is filed under Energy, Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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