Using iron to produce solar panels, a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way – video

Photo credit: Lund University.

By Anders Lorenzen

We know that the efficiency of solar panels is increasing, while the costs are coming down year by year, highlighting it is as one of the brightest and most encouraging renewable energy technologies out there.


But one thing that is not highlighted often is that the mainstream production of solar panels is not actually particularly environmentally friendly and there are obstacles as to how much the cost can  be further reduced. It is an issue researchers and scientists have been trying to tackle for years.


As the above video illustrates, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have developed a solution to produce solar panels using iron. Researchers found that by using iron instead of other more expensive and rare metals, the production of solar cells will become cheaper and more environmentally friendly.They concluded that the demand for solar cells is therefore expected to significantly increase.


Senior lecturer, Petter Persson hailed the groundbreaking study in a statement “in this new study, we explain how iron-based dyes work on a molecular level. That way we are able to further improve these iron complexes so that they become even better at absorbing and storing solar energy. There is a lot of international interest in our research. Research groups in other parts of the world are keen to test the new dyes in other areas of application”.


However, it might take a little while before we would see this entering commercial production, due to to the difficulty in developing new materials for solar conversion, though Persson highlights that this process has been incredibly rapid and several breakthroughs have been made within just a few years.


Solar energy enthusiasts and clean energy installers will be sure to follow Lund University’s progress in this field closely in the coming years.

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