The university’s Cavendish Laboratory and the Carbon Trust have formed a joint venture company to develop organic solar PV technology, which has been financed with a £4.5 million initial investment from the Trust and specialty chemicals firm Rhodia. Cavendish Labs have reportedly fine-tuned the capability for fabricating large-scale plastic electronic devices on flexible materials using roll-to-roll processes. The new company will be able to focus on developing organic photovoltaics (OPV) on flexible rolls, enabling them to be used more readily and discretely on buildings – and potentially other objects – than conventional rigid photovoltaic panels.
Not only can organic photovoltaic plastic be molded for any purpose, but it can be spray-painted on objects, be it buildings, cars or otherwise. There are also investigations in to creating a silicon-based solar paint, but if organic photovoltaic paint can be produced first, and more cheaply, then it could transform the solar market. Instead of acres of solar cells, cities could be transformed using solar plastics, not to mention the more environmental alternative – bioplastics, which are made from waste-water instead of petroleum.
Images from University of Cambridge