Eco Factor: Solar cells made on tracing paper.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have unveiled the early results of a new research project sponsored by Italian oil company Eni. The project includes the development of paper-thin solar cells that can be used as window covers or as roof coatings.
The paper solar cell unveiled is able to generate enough current to light a small LED display. The research team is envisioning the use of paper solar cells on blinds and shades or perhaps even the cover of a laptop. The trick behind the technology is a layer-by-layer manufacturing process that can be adjusted for different needs.
To make a paper solar cell, five layers of solid material are deposited onto a paper substrate, and each layer serves a different function. Currently the solar cells are only one percent efficient but the lab is targeting it to get up to four percent efficient before commercialization.