New material discovered to build solar panels by UMA researchers: Wine for photovoltaic cells.
After years of using silicon as the main material for the production of photovoltaic solar panels and reaching efficiencies off up to 20%, it seems that the time is coming for new materials that can improve these features.
The search for new materials is the main line of research in the sphere of photovoltaic energy, which is why many studies focus on it. One such study is that of a research group of the Department of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Malaga(UMA), which according to an article by Málaga Hoy, is working on a R&D project in which the residue from wine making is converted into photovoltaic cells.
What have they discovered?
Residue is extracted through filtering during wine-making, so it is not necessary to carry out any chemical processes. The Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Malaga, Enrique Rodríguez Castellón explains ” it is a gel that consists of the absorbed solids and liquids, that are/is very rich in polyphenol tannins”.
The residue is centrifuged and a liquid dye is extracted from the resulting solid, which is then applied as a sort of paint onto a nonporous titanium oxide plate. Its properties to absorb sunlight render it suitable to be used as a solar panel. The research was carried out together with an Italian wine brand and the patent for it will be presented in about two weeks.
In April, the results were presented at the Vinitaly, the most important (wine) fair in Italy, in the city of Verona.
The beneficiary and owner of the project will be the Italian firm, with the method being marketed as an effective method to put waste into good use, which would reduce pollution as well as combat the increase of green-house gases into the atmosphere.
However, the photovoltaic cells obtained fail to reach the standard yields of commercially sold cells. Yet, this method can be a solution for wine companies to reuse their waste and reduce their energy consumption thanks to solar panels produced in this manner.
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PABLO SERRANO TRAINEE
He is in charge of dimensioning the photovoltaic project installations, student of Energy Engineering, Pablo has become our preferred engineer and gives technical support to all departments.