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

7 industry trends of 2015

The Latest
Friday, January 09, 2015
covertrends15-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Industry groups identify top trends for 2015.


Read more...

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

Playoffs pay off for the Ducks

The Latest
Friday, January 02, 2015
oregon-ducks-logo-helmet-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...

MBA Perspective

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY KIM MOORE

Robin Anderson, dean of the Pamplin School of Business, University of Portland: "You need people who are comfortable leading in ambiguity."


Read more...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


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