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26.07.2011 15:21
Eni Develops Solar Cells Printed on Paper
Paper cells would have the potential to create a new market based on the popularity of low-power electronic devices that are now mostly fed by batteries, such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPads and mobile phones
AUTHOR: publics.bg


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The next generation of solar cells may be printed on ordinary paper. Engineers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology have created ultrathin paper cells that gather enough juice to power an LCD clock and can be glued to a briefcase, stapled to a hat or folded into a pocket, Bloomberg reported. The research is a first step toward a cheap and lightweight source of renewable energy that, within two years, may be used for everything from charging an iPad to warming up clothing, researchers said.
 
“Rather than confining solar power to rooftops or solar farms, paper photovoltaics can be used virtually anywhere, making energy ubiquitous,” said Karen Gleason, associate dean of engineering research at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and leader of the team that produced the cells.
 
Paper cells would have the potential to create a new market based on the popularity of low-power electronic devices that are now mostly fed by batteries, such as Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPads and mobile phones, said Jeffrey Bencik, director of research at Kaufman Bros. LP, a New York-based investment firm. That new market may grow to as much as $470 million by 2020, according to an April report by Lux Research, a Boston-based advisory firm.
 
The research, funded by Eni SpA (ENI), Italy’s biggest oil company, was described by MIT engineers in a paper published July 8 in the journal Advanced Materials.
 
Competitors racing to develop other low-cost, flexible cells include Solarmer Energy Inc. in El Monte, California, and Lowell, Massachusetts-based Konarka Technologies Inc. Both companies produce organic photovoltaics, but have yet to find the combination of efficiency and production capabilities that enable large-scale commercial use, said Jason Eckstein, a researcher at Lux. Konarka’s cells are applied on plastic, a material more expensive than paper.
 
The project also answers a need among energy companies, such as Eni, that are being increasingly nudged by governments to find green energy alternatives, said Richard Griffith, an oil and gas analyst at London-based Evolution Securities LTD.

TAGS: paper | solar cells | new technologies | low-power electronic devices | Ipad | mobile phones | Eni | research | photovoltaic power 


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