I think everyone agrees that using solar energy is generally a good thing to do, but there are usually two problems: cost and effective conversion rates (sun light to solar energy). Now Tokyo-based Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) has developed an organic thin-film solar cell that does away with the need for using (expensive) silicon for the production of these cells. And it’s relatively efficient, too.
Besides being cheaper than silicon-based solar cells, DNP’s protoype can also be used for curved surfaces. The company used its print-industry expertise to install metal electrodes on transparent ones, thereby boosting the conversion rate of their cell to 4%, up from the 1% achieved before.
Sized at 5x5cm, the cells are supposed to power notebooks and cell phones by 2012 when DNP plans to commercialize its technology. The company says it needs to further improve the conversion rate by then, however.
Via Nikkei [registration required, paid subscription]