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Organic solar cells - Essay Example

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Organic solar cells use organic electronics for absorption of light and transport of charge to use the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity from the sunlight. The production cost of plastic employed in the organic…
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Organic Solar Cells Organic solar cells are a kind of polymer solar cell. Organic solar cells use organic electronics for absorption of light and transport of charge to use the photovoltaic effect to generate electricity from the sunlight. The production cost of plastic employed in the organic solar cells in high volumes is low. Owing to the high optical absorption coefficient of the organic molecules, a small amount of materials can result in the absorption of light in large amount. One of the major disadvantages of the organic solar cells is their low efficiency. Other disadvantages include low strength and stability in comparison to the inorganic photovoltaic cells.
Solar energy is a potential alternative to the production of energy with petroleum. The present solar-cell technology’s energy yield is often not the same and mass-production proves expensive. There is incomplete information of the solar energy production’s total effect on environment. A research team at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) carried out one of the first assessments of the life-cycle of organic solar cells in an attempt to develop a better understanding of the detriments and environmental benefits of solar power. The research was directed at the calculation of total use of energy and impact of material collection, production, fabrication, and use of organic solar cells on the environment by means of a detailed assessment of the technology. As a result of this research, it was found that the total amount of energy needed to make a product is more for the conventional inorganic devices in comparison to the organic solar cells. The assistant professor of chemical engineering, Brian Landi, who has served as a faculty advisor in this research project at RIT says, “This analysis provides a comprehensive assessment of how much energy it takes to manufacture an organic solar cell, which has a significant impact on both the cost and environmental impact of the technology” (Landi cited in Dube). Organic solar cells are considered to be low-cost as well as potentially benign power sources environmentally. The components of organic solar cells that play the role of absorbing light and taking the charge i.e. π-Conjugated (semiconducting) polymers cannot be made in the laboratories in amenable ways to the manufacturing with low impact on the environment.
Organic solar cells are lightweight and flexible. Their tendency to provide the cost effective solution processing generates a range of benefits for manufacturing over the technologies of the previous generation which mainly used the inorganic semiconductor materials. “Donor-acceptor based organic solar cells are currently showing power conversion efficiencies of more than 3.5%. Improving the nanoscale morphology together with the development of novel low bandgap materials is expected to lead to power conversion efficiencies approaching 10%” (Hoppe and Sariciftci 1939). Some synthetic strategies of green chemistry for the organic solar cells include use of polymerizations that are catalyzed heterogeneously, polymerization with the help of cross-coupling reactions mediated by metal, polycondensation reactions whose byproduct is water, polymerization that comprises C-H bond activation, and use of starting materials derived from biofeedstock.
Works Cited:
Dube, William. “Research Team Assesses Environmental Impact of Organic Solar Cells.” 17
Sep. 2010. Web. 3 Mar. 2014. .
Hoppe, Harald, and Sariciftci, Niyazi S. “Organic solar cells: An overview.” J. Mater. Res. 19.7
(2004): 1924-1945. Read More
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