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Carbon Solar Cells

Though, we have discussed a lot about solar energy projects, but solar energy is not economically viable for our daily use because of increasingly expensive materials used in traditional solar cells made up of silicon, which is not available in abundance and hence very costly. Today, we will discuss about carbon solar cells and how to use them to built complete carbon solar cells?


Why Carbon ?

"Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost," said study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. According to Professor Bao, in the future we can use solar cells,which are coated on the surface of buildings, on windows or on cars to generate electricity

How is it possible?

When we take elements into their nano scale, their properties start to change and  it happens with carbon too.Carbon nanotubes have great electrical conductivity. Stanford researches found that, they can use nanotechnology to build new type of solar cells by just using carbon.It consists of mainly three parts,
Two Electrodes made up of Carbon Nano tubes(graphene – sheets of carbon that are one atom thick –and single-walled carbon nanotubes that are 10,000 times narrower than a human hair) instead of expensive ITO(Indium Tin Oxide) and one Active Layer made of buckyballs(soccer ball-shaped molecules with carbon atoms at each vertex just 1 nano-meter of diameter).

Buckyball(C60):

It is a spherical football shaped fullerene molecule.
Formula: C60.

Graphene:

It is a substance composed of pure carbon, with atoms arranged in a regular hexagonal pattern similar to graphite, but in a one-atom thick sheet.

Carbon nanotubes:

Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are allotropes of carbon with a cylindrical nanostructure.

Problems:

Basic problem with carbon solar cells is their efficiency which is only 1 Percent in comparison to silicon cells with 20 Percent efficiency.People working with this technology beleives that they can increase these cells efficiency significantly by implementing some minute changes during its manufacturing.

Advantages:
Their are many advantage of using carbon cells such as

Stanford Page: Build the first all carbon solar cell



Related:

Solar Projects

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