It’s something I’m a little tired of hearing about: a new breakthrough in solar technology. Not because it’s a bad thing – I think it’s fantastic – but because I’ve heard so many stories before, only for the research to peter out from lack of funding to carry projects through to commercialisation. Sure, some advances turn out to be unfeasible at large scales, or other such issues, but the level of investment in pushing renewables through to a mass production level pales in comparison to historical investment in fossil fuels and nuclear power.
Pointless griping aside, the new technology, developed by Professor Benoît Marsan and co. at Université du Québec à Montréal, looks very cool, in large part because it’s cheap. It does away with platinum electrodes, for a start, which would make scaling the technology up substantially more expensive. There are also substantial steps forward to the production of a solar cell which is cheap, flexible and scaleable. Mass uptake of technologies like this is inevitable; it’d be nice to see a kick along as soon as possible. Not only would I be able travel through remote Australia with a functioning laptop and digitial camera, powered by the sun, but it would also contribute to energy independence and mitigating climate change as well.
We’d all win!