Researchers at Georgia Tech University have developed an organic solar cell made of wood using nanocellulose produced at the Forest Products Laboratory. The biodegradable, transparent films are designed to replace the layers of glass or plastic found in conventional solar cells.
Professor Bernard Kippelen, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE), is leading the study. “We asked the question, if we are going to deploy plastic solar cells on plastic substrates, are we going to solve an environmental problem by creating another one,” says Kippelen.
Nanocellulose is key in helping Kippelen and his team answer that question as they work toward developing solar panels that are 100 percent recyclable.