Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Israeli nanotechnology aids large-area solar cell

The "EE Times" reports that a scientist at Israel's Bar-Ilan University claims that he has managed to create a solar cell 100 times bigger than a typical solar cell, using nanotechnology methods. Professor Arie Zaban, head of Bar-Ilan University's Nanotechnology Institute, is an expert in photovoltaics. In a recently patented technique, Professor Zaban demonstrated how metallic wires mounted on conductive glass can form the basis of solar cells with efficiency similar to that of conventional, silicon-based cells, but that are much cheaper to produce.

"Cost is an important factor in the success of any solar technology," Professor Zaban said. "To become widely adopted, solar cells must generate electricity at lower cost than what we now spend on fossil fuels. At the same time, we have to make the basic infrastructure extremely affordable because the third-world countries that stand to reap the most benefit from solar power usually lack the money to invest in it. By making cells more efficient and keeping material costs down, nano-based techniques are moving us closer to that goal." Professor Zaban serves as an advisor to Orionsolar, a Jerusalem-based company that has entered into partnership with Bar-Ilan University and is developing commercial applications for inexpensive, dye-based photovoltaics based on his work. "Given the state of the technology, I believe that the new solar cells will be available commercially within the next five years," he said.

Click here for the rest of the article and more details on Professor Zaban's technology.