Scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day.
The plastic material uses nanotechnology and contains the first solar cells able to harness the sun's invisible, infrared rays. The breakthrough has led theorists to predict that plastic solar cells could one day become five times more efficient than current solar cell technology.
Like paint, the composite can be sprayed onto other materials and used as portable electricity. A sweater coated in the material could power a cell phone or other wireless devices. A hydrogen-powered car painted with the film could potentially convert enough energy into electricity to continually recharge the car's battery.
The researchers envision that one day "solar farms" consisting of the plastic material could be rolled across deserts to generate enough clean energy to supply the entire planet's power needs. (cont.)