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View Full Version : Honda to manufacture solar cells



Marshmallowman
19th December 2005, 18:23
cool , hopefully solar cells will be used a lot more.(and be cheaper)
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=technologyNews&storyID=2005-12-19T070145Z_01_ARM918109_RTRUKOC_0_US-AUTOS-JAPAN-HONDA.xml&archived=False

its cool they use nonsilicon solar cells, as the silicon one are quite messy to make.
But I can't think of what other types there are that have reasonable efficiency.?

edit to add
http://world.honda.com/news/2005/c051219.html

Thin film metal cells that have similar efficency to silicon solar cells, that is good news.

Dr Mordrid
19th December 2005, 20:00
Wonder if their tech is at least partially licensed from Energy Conversion Devices - Ovonics (a Michigan company)? ECD-Ovonics was started up by Stanley Ovshinsky; one of the pioneers of NiMH battreries, solar cells made out of flexible thin-film amorphous silicon and a metal-hydride (non-PeM) fuel cell. A freaking genius.

http://www.ovonic.com/index.htm

Dr. Mordrid

GNEP
20th December 2005, 02:21
Not sure if this will make the things any cheaper - there is already massive manufacturing overcapacity in the sector...

Dr Mordrid
20th December 2005, 08:46
Overcapacity because of cost. Lower the cost to a level where solar is financiallly viable for the end user and it'll be worthwhile.

Dr. Mordrid

Marshmallowman
20th December 2005, 16:26
Well it is kind of viable , it just takes 10 year to recoup your costs(in a sunny location)

These thin films ones are defintely going to reduce costs, crystalline silicon solar cells are very expensive but are more or less indestructable. Amorphous silicon is a lot cheaper but will reduce to half it capacity in a 5 years or so, thin film metal with no silicon should be cheaper and have lot longer lifetime than amorphous silicon.

I think I am going to have a look around to see if I can find somewhere to buy some these new solar cells, this tech really sneaked up on me.

Brian Ellis
20th December 2005, 23:37
The only negative points are that gallium and indium are horrendously expensive (well into the thousands/kg) and in very short supply (there is a shortage of gallium used quite extensively for gallium arsenide semiconductors), while selenium compounds are very toxic. The supply problems are probably why the proposed production is so limited.

I have a selenium PV cell in my Weston Master exposure meter of c. 1950!

GNEP
21st December 2005, 00:21
Overcapacity because of cost. Lower the cost to a level where solar is financiallly viable for the end user and it'll be worthwhile.

Dr. Mordrid Sory didn't make myself abundantly clear.... what I meant was that existing panels are already being sold way below cost as it is - every panel is a loss-maker for the manufacturer pretty much - so a cheaper technology may well not work its way through to the consumer. Solar panel roll-out is still utterly dependent on subsidies in the short to medium term IMHO unfortunately. (there are quite a few other cool techs though - like a bit of what looked like see-through sticky-backed plastic stuck to a colleague's window that was driving a small fan :) can't remember how that was working off the top of my head now... and probably cost as much as his pension is worth...)

Marshmallowman
21st December 2005, 00:32
yeah , unfortunately the best metal for use as transparent conductive "plate" is platinum.

There is a little point that can work in crystalline silicon solar cells, they have VERY long lifetime(they don't degrade in like most thin film PV's), and in a concentrator setup (mirrors) there effiecency goes up significantly...and mirrors are cheap