Researchers Develop Solar Paint

Imagine if a fresh coat of paint could make your business more energy efficient, or could help power the  new electric car you’re helping design. Scientists at Notre Dame have used breakthroughs in semiconductor nanocrystal research to create a paint that collects solar energy. Researchers created the one-coat paint, which they have named “Sun-Believable,” by mixing CdS, CdSe, and TiO2 semiconductor nanoparticles.

 ”We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology. By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”  — Notre Dame professor Prashant Kamat.

Solar energy paint.

Solar paint created with a mix of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles. Photo courtesy of ACS Nano.

According to their published paper, the research team was able to generate an open-circuit voltage of 600 mV and a short circuit current of 3.1 mA/cm2. This represents an efficiency rate of around 1%, which is low compared to other solar collection technologies.

“The best light-to-energy conversion efficiency we’ve reached so far is 1%, which is well behind the usual 10 to 15% efficiency of commercial silicon solar cells,” Kamat said. “But this paint can be made cheaply and in large quantities. If we can improve the efficiency somewhat, we may be able to make a real difference in meeting energy needs in the future.”

Below you’ll find a video discussing this emerging technology.

Sources: Science Daily, ACS Nano.

 

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