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​Flexible solar panels could cover every surface in Singapore

Published on: 02-Jun-2017

(From left) Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, Assistant Professor Nripan Mathews and Associate Professor Sum Tze Chien,
whose research shows the material perovskite can be printed onto glass or plastic sheets. ST PHOTO: DAVE LIM

A team of scientists at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) is working to increase the income of power supply from the sun. Conventional silicon-made solar panels are brittle and inflexible. But it is a different story when they are made of this "wonder material", which the scientists believe could revolutionise the solar industry in Singapore.

Perovskite used in making solar cells are synthesised in laboratories from elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, lead and iodine. Like silicon, perovskite can convert sunlight into electricity. While silicon exists mainly as a breakable solid, perovskite can be printed onto plastic sheets - making flexible solar panels a possibility.

Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, executive director of the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N), said glass-printed perovskite solar panels could become commercially available within the next three years, and he is confident that new solar cell technologies, such as perovskite solar cells, could help the Republic tap more sunlight than ever before.

The team also discovered that, other than absorbing energy for conversion into electricity, perovskite nanoparticles can also emit light. This allows for the potential application where a perovskite screen could function as both a display screen and solar panel, said the scientists.

The NTU team is working with scientists from the Singapore-Berkeley Research Initiative for Sustainable Energy on the perovskite research.

Read full media release:
The Strait Times

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