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How chemistry can be important in the renewable energy sector

Each day, the solar sector grows stronger, especially with the maturation of photovoltaic technologies. But what is the power behind these improvements? The answer comes with one name: Chemistry.

It is the key to the development of, say, for instance, more efficient solar cells, and it promises to revolutionise how we generate - and store - energy. If you’re wondering how, exactly, check some examples of chemistry innovations we bring to you.

Let’s start with a ‘spicy’ discovery. If you like chili peppers, know that capsaicin, an active component that makes them hot, can actually be used to boost solar panels’ efficiency. Researchers from East China Normal University, in Shanghai, found that cells treated with that compound improved their electricity transport, generating energy more effectively.

How about using less expensive materials to make solar cells? Say plastics, for example. In fact, plastics are made of polymers, which are long molecules. If you observe these polymers under a microscope, you will see that they look like spaghetti, but are actually a long chain that can conduct electricity. Now, by dissolving these polymers in solvents, we can make an ink that allows us to print a solar cell - yes, just like printing a newspaper. And this would be a great option to reduce the production costs of those solar pieces of equipment.

In terms of energy storage, chemistry can also guide us through a much brighter future. What if we could be able to use solar energy when the sun doesn’t show up, like on a rainy day or even at night? In Sweden, researchers have a solution found in molecules. Let’s keep the explanation short. Molecules are made of two or more atoms. If we add energy to a molecule, that energy might become ‘trapped’ between the bonds that hold those atoms together. By ‘suspending’ this energy in a liquid made with these molecules, we can generate a solar-energy battery that can store that power for months or years. And this would surely be a key step to energy saving.

Last but not least, a creation of our own: Solar Wash Protect. A solution that promises to keep your solar panels shining. With this formula we can assure you that your equipment is cleaned and protected from all types of dirt.
See for yourself!

So, it is easily understandable that chemistry has an irreplaceable role in solar technology maturation. To improve the efficiency and lifetime of photovoltaic cells, it is, undoubtedly, one path to take. Generally speaking, it is much more than that: it’s the answer to a low carbon and green World.

Do you have any suggestions or topics about the solar universe you would like to read here? Reach us by email (and go solar)!