Chemical engineers at the University of Texas in Austin are researching new “spray-on” applications for photovoltaic panels. With support from the National Science Foundation, Brian Korgel and his team are testing out nanoparticle “inks” that are designed to be painted on rooftops or the sides of buildings. The technology is not yet at the same levels of efficiency as standard, commercial photovoltaic panels, but Korgel expects some commercial uses for his research within three to five years. And, because they are semi-transparent the new cells could allow windows to double as solar collection cells.
Arizona gets plenty of sunlight, and researchers there are working hard to turn that energy into electricity we can use. At Arizona State University, graduate students make and test new materials that will allow us to build smaller, cheaper, flexible photovoltaic solar cells that can go almost anywhere and test solar cells to see how surface shape affects the energy production of the cells