Solar Power Dyed-Fibers

Mimicking how leaves use chlorophyll to begin photosynthesis, new solar panels on sports bags can be used to recharge music players and cellphones. (Image source from the NY Times)

I had to post a link to this NY Times article.  For several decades, businesses have been exploring ways to duplicate plants’ ability to harness the power of the sun for power. It appears that this Spring we will begins to see products with solar panels that can recharge small portable devices. In an increasingly digital age where it seems like most things are electronic, it will be nice to have support for powering these devices.

One question I have is how environmentally sound is this dye.  I’m sure that this topic will be addressed as products begins to appear that use this technology (actually it sounds like a great senior thesis!). How cost-effective is this product? How effective will it be in recharging small devices?  Is it produced in ecologically conservative ways–and to what extent?  What about when the product breaks down and needs to be replaced? Can this technology be reused, recycled, or easily broken down in landfills/burned by incinerators?

Some of the panels will be placed on covers designed as an accessory for Sony e-book readers, said Tobi Doeringer, the director of global sales at Mascotte Industrial Associates, a Hong Kong company that makes bags to carry cameras, phones, sports equipment, electronic games and other products…

Within the solar cell, the dye is painted in a thin layer on a porous titanium dioxide scaffold to collect light and, in a series of steps, create power. An Australian company, Dyesol… provides the dye, titanium pastes and the electrolytes for the thin-film technology, he said. Titanium dioxide is a common, inexpensive ingredient that is used, for example, to whiten toothpaste.  Read more…


About repplinger

John has served as a Reference Librarian at Willamette University since 2002. He is the liaison to the Science Departments, and is responsible for maintaining the collections related to the life & physical sciences. His research interests range over the entire spectrum of libraries and information sciences, but includes: - Google and its influence on information & society - The Internet's influence on information seeking & sharing behaviors - Trends of scholarly communication - Electronic learning environments - Traditional pedagogy - GIS use in academic libraries

Posted on February 1, 2010, in Consumerism, Tech Toys and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Dyesol is an Australian Company that makes the the dye, titanium pastes and the electrolytes

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