UNIVERSITY of Newcastle researchers are about to perfect printing water-based solar paint that will revolutionise the application of solar energy.
A newly installing Danish-built printer at the university’s Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources has made it possible to print up to a hundred of metres of solar cells a day.
A roof covered in the material can produce enough power for an average house.
‘‘Instead of printing newspapers, imagine printing solar cells that roll out over people’s roofs,’’ Professor Paul Dastoor said.
‘‘We think this is going to change the way we think about power in the next five years.’’
The key to the breakthrough has been the development of the water-based solar paint.
‘‘There’s been a lot of work going on to make flexible solar cells but none of them are printing straight out of water,’’ Professor Dastoor said.
‘‘We have developed a process to be able to do that from particles suspended in water.’’
It is hoped a commercial-scale prototype of the product will be produced by the end of the year.
Professor Dastoor said he expected the material could ultimately be produced for about $7 a square metre.