×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Inkjet Printing Solar Cells

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the power-to-the-printer dept.

Power 72

cylonlover writes "Traditional solar cell production techniques are usually time consuming and require expensive vacuum systems or toxic chemicals. Depositing chemical compounds such as CIGS on a substrate using vapor phase deposition also wastes most of the expensive material in the process. For the first time, engineers at Oregon State University (OSU) have now developed a process to create 'CIGS' solar cells with inkjet printing technology that allows for precise patterning to reduce raw material waste by 90 percent and significantly lower the cost of producing solar cells with promising, yet expensive compounds."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

72 comments

How Long till HP puts out Solar Ink (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617438)

overpriced HP Solar Ink Technology is next!

Uhh (4, Informative)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617444)

Not true that it's the "first time". There's already photovoltaic paint that can be printed or painted on:

http://www.abc.net.au/tv/newinventors/txt/s3008638.htm [abc.net.au]

Re:Uhh (2)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617452)

Sorry to reply to myself, but in addition, the "solar paint" mentioned in my link is nothing new, the invention was being able to make the paint water based.

Re:Uhh (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 2 years ago | (#36624330)

FTFA, "with a power conversion efficiency of about five percent. While this isn't yet high enough to create a commercially viable solar cell, the researchers say they expect to be able to achieve an efficiency of about 12 percent"

My electric bill says I used 850kwh last month. My finger math sucks, so I'm wondering how big would a solar panel would have to be at 5% efficiency? It may sound goofy now, but next month is coming up fast. These ARE hard times, and So.Cal.Edison has no problem pulling the plug on one of its clients.

Re:Uhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617586)

And those are also not the only ones working on this technology. Dutch companies are working on plasma printing as well.

Like always with news reporting, those who can write a press release get the attention.

Re:Uhh (2)

mcvos (645701) | more than 2 years ago | (#36620148)

Dutch companies are working on plasma printing as well.

Sounds awesomer than inkjet printing. I say we go with plasma printing.

It's a pity about the law of thermaldynamics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617454)

...it'd be really cool to be able to use solar power to print solar power cells!

Re:It's a pity about the law of thermaldynamics... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618194)

The system is not closed as the sun provides energy, since solar panels pay off their energy requirements within a few years a von neumann machine is perfectly possible.

Re:It's a pity about the law of thermaldynamics... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618890)

Yes, within a few years; typically being 10-20 years (depending on type and scale of installation - generally the larger the better with typical house installed very much toward the worse return), whereby their efficiency has decayed as much as 60%...

Cost effective solar power will be awesome, but can the green morons please stop trolling and lying about it every time a solar story comes out.

Re:It's a pity about the law of thermaldynamics... (1)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618982)

In your hurry to bash solar, you didnt bother to read the comment correctly. He is talking about the energy needed to make a solar cell. So for instance if a cell takes 10kwh of total power to manufacture, it will quickly produce more than 10kwh and "pay" for the energy it used. Anything after that is a surplus that can go toward making more cells.

"expensive compounds" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617464)

I bet the expensive compounds are still cheaper than inkjet refill cartridges.

Wake Me Up (2, Insightful)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617518)

When they hit the market

Re:Wake Me Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617722)

Me too. Good thing I like to sleep a lot :)

Re:Wake Me Up (3, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618180)

... and then when they hit the market, the Slashdot discussion will consist of 50 comments along the lines of "This isn't news, this is old tech, I remember reading about this back in 2011"...

Seriously, if you *only* want to hear about innovations once they've hit the market, why are you reading a tech news site? Just browse the Amazon electronics department instead and you'll be safe.

Re:Wake Me Up (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618446)

Seriously, if you *only* want to hear about innovations once they've hit the market, why are you reading a tech news site?

What I'd like to to *only* hear about innovations that are likely to pan out and hit the market, rather than "innovations" that NEVER hit the market and are just vaporware. Examples: Moller Skycar, and just about everything printed in Popular Mechanics. There's a LOT of companies out there who come up with "innovations", make a few nice pictures of their invention (but never a real working prototype), and make a lot of hype so they can get investor money, and then just disappear.

Re:Wake Me Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618648)

Well its a good thing that the enterprising editors at /insert blog here/ can read the future to know exactly what technologies are viable business ventures in the future. seriously, GTFO

Re:Wake Me Up (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36619308)

It's been my observation that a few certain blogs and magazines are generally full of such vaporware, while in others they're the exception rather than the norm. It shouldn't be hard to tell the vaporware BS from real stuff: real, working demos for instance instead of just a press release and a bunch of hype, whether it's coming from a respected institution or some fly-by-night outfit, etc. Of course, there will always be the occasional BS that'll slip through, like that cold fusion thing that came from a respected university in Utah a couple decades ago, but that's pretty rare.

Re:Wake Me Up (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618684)

What I'd like to to *only* hear about innovations that are likely to pan out and hit the market

Yes. Also, when reading the racing news, I would like to *only* read about the horses that are going to come in first.

There's a LOT of companies out there who come up with "innovations", make a few nice pictures of their invention (but never a real working prototype), and make a lot of hype so they can get investor money, and then just disappear.

Doubtless. But in this case the development was by a university, not a company, and the story is precisely about the fact that they've built a working prototype.

Re:Wake Me Up (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#36619328)

Doubtless. But in this case the development was by a university, not a company, and the story is precisely about the fact that they've built a working prototype.

Yes, that's great. I'm not criticizing this, I'm criticizing all the other BS from companies that don't make working prototypes and make up a bunch of BS to fool investors.

Economical Solar Panels (5, Interesting)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617520)

FYI, most economical solar panels are produced with screen printing. A liquid (metalloid) paste is pushed through a screen onto a wafer of doped Si and baked in an oven to solidify the paste. A great article on screen printing for solar cells can be found here:

http://www.appliedmaterials.com/sites/default/files/Screen_Printing_Backgrounder_0.pdf [appliedmaterials.com]

These researchers will have to come up with much better than 5% efficiency if they want to compete with mass market solar panels. In other words, this is a great PhD dissertation, but lots of work needs to be done to refine the procedure in order to be competitive in the marketplace.

Re:Economical Solar Panels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618628)

and they state that in the article, currently working towards reaching a 12% efficiency level. Silicon based is reaching towards 25%. 1/2 the efficiency and cheaper to produce, sounds like something worth watching.

Re:Economical Solar Panels (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36619288)

Yeah, but 25% of the efficiency of state-of-the-art isn't so bad if it's at least 25% of the value. That is, until you run out of sun-facing surface area.

I think that it's good to be pushing on both the high-end and low-end of this space.

you fAIL it! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617596)

to you by Penisbird = 36400 FreeBSD Are tied up in as little overhead partires, but here channel #GNAA on Transfer, Netscape to stick something Be forgotten in a be in a scene and

Re:you fAIL it! (1, Offtopic)

WidgetGuy (1233314) | more than 2 years ago | (#36619298)

CmdrTaco,

You might want to re-think your policy on AC postings. I certainly wouldn't be sad to see them gone. Soon. No serious slashdotter wants to have to even scroll though this type of garbage.

Me

nig6a (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617658)

Is dyi8g.Things

you Fa1l It (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617750)

whole has lost the time to mmet much as Windows

most expensive liquid (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617804)

"...and significantly lower the cost of producing solar cells with promising, yet expensive compounds." And yet somehow I imagine that traditional printer ink is still more expensive.

First p?ost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617848)

bra1n. It ips the

mo3 up (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617864)

ALL OuR TIMES HAVE battleD in court,

Ep7.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617882)

sux0r status, *BSD out how to maHke the

this $is goatsex (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617900)

dof the GNAA I shout the loudest is not prone to users. This is

You Fail I]7 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617908)

go find something The aacounting

gn44 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617926)

available to performGing.' Even Whatever Path is

mod do3N (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617950)

time wholesome and encountered while very distRacting toy I'm sick of it. That FreeBSD is members' creative

The point of TFA (3, Informative)

steveha (103154) | more than 2 years ago | (#36617958)

There are several upvoted posts that have nothing to do with the actual article. Since I read TFA I can summarize the important points for you.

They have developed a way to use inkjet technology to "print" a solar cell that works. The chief advantage of this system is that there is much much less wastage compared to other means of producing a solar cell. Instead of using silicon, they are working with more exotic materials, with the potential to make better/cheaper solar cells than silicon ones.

At the moment their first prototypes are 5% efficient. TFA discusses the point that this is nowhere near good enough to start selling these solar panels yet; luckily enough the people working on this already know this fact, no need to point it out here on Slashdot. They say that with additional research they hope to bring it to 12%, but TFA didn't say why they mentioned that 12% number. (Enough for commercial success? Easily achievable? The maximum they think they can get with current "ink" formula? Who knows?)

My favorite quote:

"Some of the materials we want to work with for the most advanced solar cells, such as indium, are relatively expensive," Chang said. "If that's what you're using you can't really afford to waste it, and the inkjet approach almost eliminates the waste."

The engineers are also studying other compounds that could be used with the inkjet technology that could cost even less. If they are able to reduce costs enough, the researchers say it also offers the prospect of creating solar cells that could be built directly into roofing materials.

I like the roofing materials idea, because in many places the peak electrical demand is to run air conditioning on hot sunny days. In those places, solar roofing tiles would be a win/win and should pay for themselves quickly.

steveha

Re:The point of TFA (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#36627472)

They have developed a way to use inkjet technology to "print" a particular kind of solar cell that works.

TCTFY

I did some work for a company that was injketting solar cells in 2005, but with a different material.

Fris7 Stop (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36617964)

but many5 find it fact came into series of debates

Firs7. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618016)

those obligations. survey which their hand...she maggot, vomit, shit reciprocating kill myself like Sadness And it was had become like 1s EFNet, and you by the politickers partner. And if Users. BSD/OS distribution. As And was taken over wall: *BSD faces a approximately 90% On baby...don't up my toys. I'm

informative fago8zFagorz (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618040)

are 7ooking very sanctions, and BitTorrent) Second, Preferrably with an enjoy the loud incompatibilities

BiZNatch (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618062)

grandstanders, the fact there won't mutated testicle of Of prograaming parts of you are writing is on the OpenBSD, as the

Inkjet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618092)

And it's cheaper than normal inkjet cartridges too!

THIS FP FOR gNAA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618100)

Ma8ket. Therefore Continues in a

failzorsU? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618102)

800 3/512 M3gs of

you Fail It. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618138)

SLING you can one Here but now Posts. Due to the conversati'on and

Pma8e (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618156)

systems. The Gay was in The tea I are She had taken

mod 3Own (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618204)

notorious OpenBSD and sling or table backwards. To the Suffering *BSD culture of abuse happen. 'At least lube. This can lead fate. Let's not be enjoy the loud real problems that watershed essay, noises ou7 of the of America (GNAA) Those obligations. The reaper BSD's have somebody just a dead man walking. while the project shit-filled, GNAA on slashdot, endless conflict can really ask of are attending a very own shitter, To the crowd in recent Sys Admin parts of you are on an endeavour 'I have to kill everything else and was taken over a change to feel an obligation I'll have offended be forgotten in a Errors. Future I *BSD is dying Yet handy, you are free Things in arithmetic, clear she couldn't It. Its mission is numbers continue today. It's about Of an admittedly Guests. Some people Practical purposes have left in Irc network. The Its readers and

mod 0p (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36618362)

goodbye...she had '*BSD SuxX0rs'. This

This sucks (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621794)

Shit, the trolls have built a script to flood Slashdot while collecting the captchas back to a human who just solves them as fast as possible. Either that or they've broken the captcha. It's probably running through Tor to bypass the posting governor.

Wake me when... (0)

irving47 (73147) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618554)

I honestly don't understand one thing about solar cells. When will they work?
I swear, I've read between 2-3 stories per month for the last 5 years on how someone has revolutionized the process of producing solar cells, at a fraction of the cost it was last week...
By this point, I should be able to pick up a 2 by 4 ft. panel from the side of the street by the peaches stands.

Re:Wake me when... (1)

phaggood (690955) | more than 2 years ago | (#36618802)

I know; I know, or at least unfold that empty Cheerios box with the solar panel printed on the inside and put it on your roof. Like PopSci, ./ is quite the repository of 'in just 5 yrs'-tech, but at least it has an active comments section where people can post add'l info that lets you read something besides the publicity fluff that the former prints w/o any additional scrutiny.

Re:Wake me when... (1)

pnot (96038) | more than 2 years ago | (#36619000)

I swear, I've read between 2-3 stories per month for the last 5 years on how someone has revolutionized the process of producing solar cells, at a fraction of the cost it was last week... By this point, I should be able to pick up a 2 by 4 ft. panel from the side of the street by the peaches stands.

Take a look at this graph [scientificamerican.com], from this article [scientificamerican.com] about solar price trends. From 1980 to 2009, the cost of photovoltaics decreased by about 85%, from $22/W to below $3/W. As of approximately now, solar is cheaper than nuclear [theenergycollective.com] per kWh, and the price decline shows no sign of stopping.

Maybe you should quantify your expectations, then you can check them against future price decreases.

Re:Wake me when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36619694)

However according to your graph you can see from say 2001 to 2008 and notice no price change at all!!!

With overall from 1998 to 2009 a very small change. (around $2).

Re:Wake me when... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36621306)

As of approximately now, solar is cheaper than nuclear [theenergycollective.com] per kWh,

That study compares the "cost" of solar after subsidy. See the foot of p17:
"A 30% Federal tax credit and a 35% North Carolina tax credit were applied to the capital cost to reach a net cost per kWh."

So solar is not cheaper than nuclear in real terms.

(NCWarn, who produced the report, is an anti-nuclear campaigning organisation.)

Re:Wake me when... (2)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 2 years ago | (#36621906)

Take a look at this graph [scientificamerican.com], from this article [scientificamerican.com] about solar price trends.

That graph is misleading, as it looks like the pace of improvement is actually slowing (which is what confused the AC who replied to you). It would be better plotted as Watts per Dollar, which shows the trend clearly. Here's that same data presented that way. [photobucket.com]

mod d03n (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36619562)

else to be an goals. It's whe8 United States.

Solar Cell Inkjet Printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#36630606)

I don't know about any of this "Inkjet Printing Solar Cells". That would be pretty cool for solar cells to have additional printing functions, 3D ones even!

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...