Home Back Issues September 2010 Next: Cheaper solar panels

Next: Cheaper solar panels

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
0910_Next01

Portland State University chemistry professor Carl Wamser is figuring out a way to create solar panels that could be inexpensive enough to install on every house. The current process that uses silicon, the main element of a solar panel, is expensive. Wamser has found a cheaper substitute: an organic molecule called porphyrin, which is purple and acts like chlorophyll. Breaking down porphyrin into a usable form is easier and thus cheaper.

“Silicon has been engineered to death. It is energy intensive and expensive,” says Wamser.

Once created, the porphyrin cells will be rolled onto thin, pliable sheets and put between layers of other conductor materials. During manufacturing, silicon cylinders waste 40% of the product; the porphyrin sheets would produce no waste.

The research is funded by a $492,000 three-year National Science Foundation grant and a $200,000 two-year grant from the Oregon Nanoscience and Microtechnologies Institute. Wamser’s product is five to 10 years away from completion, but someday Wamser hopes to see “something like this on every home.”

Josey Bartlett
 

More Articles

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon [VIDEO]

News
Thursday, October 02, 2014

Screen shot 2014-10-02 at 11.17.21 AMMore than 5,500 employees from 180 organizations throughout the state participated in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon project.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

Powerlist: Law Firms

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

A conversation with leading partners at law firms in Portland and eastern Oregon, followed by October's powerlist.


Read more...

Downtime

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

I'm not very interesting,” says a modest Ray Di Carlo, CEO and executive producer of Bent Image Labs, an animation and visual effects studio.


Read more...

Knight Vision

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY VIVIAN MCINERNY

Travis Knight wants to release a movie a year. Can he pull it off?


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS