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Which material?

Professor Andrew Holmes talks plastic solar cells and the current market place.

In an earlier video, we met Professor Holmes. In this video he speaks about the challenges of introducing alternative solar cells into a market place where silicon solar cells predominate.

Silicon, and therefore silicon solar cells, is not a perfect energy material. It takes a lot of energy to produce. Silicon as a material is currently also not easy to recycle, and silicon solar cells are mostly heavy and inflexible.

Plastic solar cells, on the other hand, take less energy to make and could be recycled more easily. They are lightweight and flexible.

One of the future aspirations in research is to go beyond even plastic solar cells. Some have talked about biodegradable solar cells. What do you think solar cells in the future might be like?

Conversation Starter

  • How do you feel about what Professor Holmes is saying?
  • Do you think there will ever be a single material/solution for solar energy generation?
  • Would you have a range of solar technologies in your house or want to stick with a single solution (e.g. roof panels)?

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How to Survive on Earth: Energy Materials for a Sustainable Future

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