Always great to see Australia hitting the headlines in a positive way when it comes to renewable energy :).
Researchers at the University of Queensland believe they are closer to finding the holy grail of cost-effective solar energy with a recent discovery.
According to Professor Max Lu, they have successfully grown titanium oxide single crystals with large reactive surfaces- this is believed to be a world first.
It seems that nano-crystals of titanium oxide would be extremely cost-effective solar cells and comparatively simple to make – less material needed and relatively low energy needed for production. These crystals would be small enough to be used in paint! A “nano” crystal is an incredibly small crystal consisting of anywhere from a few hundred to few tens of thousands of atoms.
The use of titanium dioxide also seems to be a little more earth friendly than another substance used in a recent thin film breakthrough, cadmium telluride..
Don’t expect to see cans of solar paint or ultra thin and ultra cheap panels made from this substance in your local renewable energy store soon – Professor Lu says it’s about 5 to 10 years away and I guess that industry will get first dibs as always grrr.
A buck a watt solar power for end consumers will happen I guess, but it’s just a matter of when – it can get a little frustrating seeing these wonderful developments and then reading the time it will take to hit the general market. Even thin film panels which are now readily available are still quite expensive.
Still, it’s all progress! – learn more about the Australian team’s solar discovery.