South Korean scientists have created ultra-thin solar cells that are bendable and less fragile
A team of South Korean scientists have used unconventional materials and processes in a path-breaking project to create ultra-thin and extremely flexible solar cells. Each cell is a micrometre thick (100 times thinner than a single strand of human hair) and can be wrapped around a pencil. The scientists claim that the technology is both more bendable and less fragile than other ultra-thin solar cells, which are typically 3.5-4 times thicker. Moreover, the cells require fewer raw materials than the regular panels and thus are more economically viable to mass-produce. Aside from the cost, the pliability of the photovoltaics enables the construction of structures with increased surface area, so that more solar power can be absorbed. While experts are contemplating on their use for powering wearable devices, ultra-thin cells can address the energy problem.
Use of these photovoltaics can also ease the economic burden for reaching the government’s target of 100 GW of solar power by 2022, which is expected to cost approximately $100 billion. With the country already having inaugurated the world’s first solar-powered airport, Cochin International, the ultra-thin cells can provide a low-cost green solution, powering up more airports across the country. Thin film solar cells have already entered the private sector as HHV Solar has developed the equipment for setting up a production facility. One can only hope that the government, too, takes notice of the vast capabilities of this advanced technology in order to cost-effectively reach its goal and provide a cleaner future for the nation.