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New Solar Power Source? — Why Now?
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New Solar Power Source?

Via Peter of Lone Tree at BlondeSense, a very interesting story in the Manawatu Standard [New Zealand]: Solar power breakthrough at Massey

The breakthrough is a development of the university’s Nanomaterials Research Centre and has attracted world-wide interest already – particularly from Australia and Japan.

Researchers at the centre have developed a range of synthetic dyes from simple organic compounds closely related to those found in nature, where light-harvesting pigments are used by plants for photosynthesis.

If this pans out, solar power will be available for less than fossil fuel power. Instead of the fuel hungry process that is required to produce silicon-based solar cells, these dyes could be applied as a roof coating, or fabric. Very interesting work.

I’m hoping for some journal articles to figure out what they are really doing. Newspapers rarely provide the details necessary to understand what the science community is actually saying.


1 Michael { 04.08.07 at 10:04 am }

I’ve passed the story along to a couple of the people working on solar cells at my university. Maybe they can come up with some journal publications on it, or explain why it won’t work (if it can’t), or why it’s the next best thing since sliced bread (if it can).

2 Bryan { 04.08.07 at 11:28 am }

If this pans out you could get all the electricity you need from your roof and batteries. It would make camping a bigger pain in the butt, because a tent coated with something like this would provide juice for all of the things you went into to the woods to avoid.

On the other hand, a the ability to run an air conditioner in a tent in the desert is not exactly an unattractive idea. It could give a whole new meaning to “power suit’.

3 cookiejill { 04.08.07 at 12:38 pm }

Let’s hope that California really “amps” up it’s solar industry. Just seeing these huge Wal Marts and Costco’s with their humungous flat rooftops with no solar anything on them just irks me to no end.

Patagonia is a real leader in thinking about the future and how they can help make tomorrow a reality.


4 Bryan { 04.08.07 at 1:46 pm }

It is incredibly stupid not to have solar water heating and solar panels at least for exterior lighting in California. I don’t understand it – it saves money, even if you didn’t care about the environment.

I’m thinking about the loss we experience down here after storms. The damage is to the grid, not power generation. The ability to generate power at the home level makes a lot more sense than running electric lines everywhere.

5 Boy George { 04.09.07 at 9:16 am }

Oh wait. Yes, I have. I’m sorry, but I just don’t have it in me right now to type it all out again. Besides, it was just ramblings anyway. You didn’t want to hear me go on and on about this, right?