MIT Researchers print Solar Cells on Paper
MIT researchers have developed solar cells that can be printed onto a special organic semiconducting paper that could reduce the weight of solar panels. The process uses carbon-based dyes to create cells that can convert 1.5 to 2 percent of sunlight into reusable energy. Commercial applications will not be immediate, according to Vladimr Bulovic, director of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Research Center that was dedicated this Tuesday to perfect and commercialize energy efficient products. The CEO of Eni -- an Italian oil company -- admitted that until investing $5 million in the research center, they had not been actively promoting alternative energy "because we don't believe today's technologies are the answer of our problems."
Bulovic also admitted during the tour of the facility that, "I'm giving you a whole bunch of hype, it usually takes 10 years from the time between when you invent something and you commercialize it." Although Karen Gleason, head of the MIT research project, claims this is the first time a solar cell has been printed on paper, Konarka Technologies introduced a method to print solar cells using a common inkjet printer in 2008.