科技新研究:太陽能塗料及其他太陽能驚奇產品 | 台灣環境資訊協會-環境資訊中心

科技新研究:太陽能塗料及其他太陽能驚奇產品

2007年11月15日
摘譯自2007年11月12日ENS美國,加州,柏克萊報導;林盈秀編譯;蔡麗伶審校

加州大學柏克萊分校利用奈米科技研發太陽能塗料;圖片來源:UC Berkeley太陽能塗料——只要塗在牆上、車上、或是船身上,就可以開始發電。化學工程師華迪亞(Cyrus Wadia)表示:「雖然今天這只是科幻小說裡會發生的事,但我們現在所做的一切都朝此方向發展。」

華迪亞是柏克萊加州大學跨領域,能源與資源學群(Energy and Resources Group)的博士班學生,從商6年之後重返校園。他花大把時間在研究室,在三頸燒瓶中進行「合成超微奈米粒子」的實驗。

此項技術很簡單,他指出:「任何在廚房覺得自在的人都能辦到。」這些懸浮在溶液上的粒子直徑小於10億分之1公尺。

華迪亞將溶液塗在玻璃表面,並分析其「光電流」,在接觸到發光體之後,電流流過光感應儀器。

由光電池效應而產生的電流,啟動普通屋頂太陽能電池,這在美國四處皆可見。這些光電池直接將太陽光轉換成電。

奈米科技太陽能電池只發展短短數年。多倫多大學電機資訊工程學系教授薩金特(Ted Sargent)聲明,他已開發出包含太陽能電池的塑膠奈米科技材料。柏克萊的研究將此項科技往前更進一步。

透過奈米科技實驗,華迪亞希望能找到天然的「極便宜、無毒、且豐富」,又合適於製造光電池的材料。他承認這種材料「可能不存在,但是我們必須去試。」

他還表示:「因為我們將奈米材料加入溶液中,所以可將溶液當成塗料,你可以看到一面黃色的牆,但卻是黃色的太陽能油漆。」

傳統的矽是光電池(PV)的基本材料,已經流通數十年,缺點是易損壞、重、及昂貴。在現今太陽能如此熱門的情況下,柏克萊研究團隊有意將太陽能科技推展到下個階段,一些部分在改進「第一代矽光電池」,另一部分則是開發全新光轉換科技。

材料科學與工程學系教授哈勒(Eugene Haller)觀察後發現:「過去幾年,學生被所有能源相關材料引發極大興趣,許多最優秀的申請者,都希望在這領域作研究計劃。」

Solar Paint and Other Solar Surprises
BERKELEY, California, November 12, 2007 (ENS)

Solar paint - just paint it on your wall, car, boat - and you can start generating electricity. Chemical engineer Cyrus Wadia says, "Today this is science fiction; but everything we do is moving us toward that.

A doctoral student with UC Berkeley's interdisciplinary Energy and Resources Group, Wadia came back to school after six years in business. He spends long hours in the lab "synthesizing super-small nanoparticles" in a three-necked flask.

The technique is so simple, he says, "anyone who feels comfortable in a kitchen could do it." These particles, less than a billionth of a meter in diameter, are then suspended in solution.

Wadia coats his solution on glass and analyzes his new device for "photocurrent," - the current that flows through a photosensitive device as the result of exposure to radiant power.

The current occurs due to the photovoltaic effect that powers the common solar cells seen on rooftops across the United States. These photovoltaic arrays to convert light from the Sun directly into electricity.

Nanotech solar cells are only a few years old. At the University of Toronto in 2005, electrical and computer engineering professor Ted Sargent announced that he had developed a new plastic nanotech material containing solar cells. The Berkeley research takes the technology a step farther.

Through his nanotech experiments, Wadia hopes to identify a material that is "extremely cheap, non-toxic, and abundant" in nature and suitable for manufacturing photovoltaic cells. Such a material "may not exist," he admits, "but we have to try."

"Nanomaterials, because we do them in solution, we could use that solution as a dye," Wadia says. "You could be looking at a wall that’s yellow, but that yellow is solar paints."

Traditional silicon based photovoltaic, PV, cells have been around for decades, but they are fragile, heavy, and costly. Now solar is hot as Berkeley researchers attempt to bring solar technology to the next level, some by improving "first-generation" silicon-based PV, others by developing entirely new light-converting technologies.

"In the past few years, student interest has risen dramatically in all energy-related matters, especially photovoltaics," observes Eugene Haller, professor of materials science and engineering. "Many of the best applicants to our graduate program want to work in this field."

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