- Engineering & Materials
- Mechanical engineering
- Fabrication of flexible polymer solar cells roll-to-roll
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Fabrication of flexible polymer solar cells roll-to-roll
Larsen-Olsen, Thue T. Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark.
Krebs, Frederik C. Department of Energy Conversion and Storage, Technical University of Denmark, Roskilde, Denmark.
- Polymer solar cells at a glance
- Roll-to-roll fabrication
- State-of-the-art in performance
- Environmental footprint
- Related Primary Literature
The aim of developing carbon-neutral and sustainable energy technologies, such as solar cells, is a race against the clock, as expectations of climate change increase and the reserves of fossil fuels dwindle. Solar cells based on polymers or “plastics” are flexible and allow for mass fabrication in a roll-to-roll (R2R) fashion, much the same as the printing of newspapers. The basic property that allows for this is solubility of the materials in common solvents and even water. Polymers can thus be formulated into liquid inks that can be printed or coated like colors on a printed page. The projected increase in energy demand toward 2050 is around 1 GW a day, which is the equivalent of building a medium-sized nuclear power plant each day. Fabrication of solar cells on such a massive scale will require low costs, a minimal environmental footprint, and high-throughput production. Polymer solar-cell technology can deliver in all categories, but future success depends on the ability of scientists to embrace this paradigm as a rational driving force for further development.
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