Nicole Kuepper, a PhD student and lecturer in the school of photovoltaic and renewable energy engineering at the University of NSW Australia has developed a simple, cheap way of producing solar cells in a pizza oven.
From Sydney Morning Herald:
Today’s photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight to electricity are expensive and need sophisticated, “clean” manufacturing plants.
Ms Kuepper realised a new approach would be needed if affordable cells were to be made on site in poorer countries: “What started off as a brainstorming session has resulted in the iJET cell concept that uses low-cost and low-temperature processes, such as ink-jet printing and pizza ovens, to manufacture solar cells.”
While it could take five years to commercialise the patented technology, providing renewable energy to homes in some of the least developed countries would enable people to “read at night, keep informed about the world through radio and television and refrigerate life-saving vaccines”. And it would also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Ms Kuepper said that the solar cells should be of high enough quality to be used anywhere in the world, including Australia.