Interview: How can we get cheaper power from the sun? using NANOTECHNOLOGY
August 18, 2014
Nanotechnology offers new ways to make solar power cost efficient. Dr Hele Savin, a World Economic Forum Young Scientist, is interviewed about how this breakthrough is changing the energy industry, as well as the advantages and frustrations of working closely with industry.
You’re working on research to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic cells, making it more cost-effective to generate electricity from the sun. How are you doing that?
Most photovoltaic cells are made from silicon. It’s a relatively cheap raw material, as it comes from rocks and sand, but it always has lots of impurities. Purifying it is very expensive, and impossible to achieve completely. What we’re trying to do is make photovoltaic cells work better with higher levels of impurities, by using nanotechnology to manipulate the defects in the silicon.