With oil and gas prices in the United States hovering at an all-time high, interest in renewable energy alternatives is again heating up. Researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science hope to meet the growing demand with a new and more affordable way to harness the suns rays: using solar cell panels made out of everyday plastics.
In research published today in Nature Materials magazine, UCLA engineering professor Yang Yang, postdoctoral researcher Gang Li and graduate student Vishal Shrotriya showcase their work on an innovative new plastic (or polymer) solar cell they hope eventually can be produced at a mere 10 percent to 20 percent of the current cost of traditional cells, making the technology more widely available.
"Solar energy is a clean alternative energy source. Its clear, given the current energy crisis, that we need to embrace new sources of renewable energy that are good for our planet. I believe very strongly in using technology to provide affordable options that all consumers can put into practice," Yang said.
Melissa Abraham | EurekAlert!
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