Just when you thought no-one could come close to innovation-king Elon Musk, here come the Aussies.
A professor at the University of Newcastle (UON) in the New South Wales Hunter region has created a printed solar panel which he hopes to use in disaster-affected areas.
“There are just three demonstration sites at this scale that we know of anywhere in the world, so Australia has joined quite an elite group of global leaders poised to make this technology a commercial reality,” Professor Dastoor said in a UON feature article.
“Imagine being able to print, on demand, thousands of kilometres of lightweight solar cells that you can deploy immediately,” he addd in an interview with ABC News.
The solar cells are printed using a revolutionary solar ink and are quick, easy and cheap to manufacture.
The solar inks and paints can generate electricity from the sun when sandwiched between two sheets of plastic – less than 0.1 of a millimeter thick.
The professor said one of the key benefits of the technology was the speed in which it could be manufactured.
“No other renewable energy solution can be manufactured as quickly,” he said.
“On our lab-scale printer we can easily produce hundreds of metres of material per day, on a commercial-scale printer this would increase to kilometres. If you had just ten of these printers operating around the clock we could print enough material to deliver power to 1000 homes per day.”
Professor Dastoor said the technology was ideal to assist in disaster-struck areas where energy is needed fast.