American Chemistry MattersA Blog of the American Chemistry Council

American Chemistry Matters

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Chemistry answers call to increase efficiency of solar cells

Chemistry is the source of many innovative technologies that are currently revolutionizing the way we generate and store energy.

For example, Silicon Valley startup Innovalight, Inc. has developed a silicon-based ink that, when applied to solar cells, effectively boosts the cells’ ability to absorb and convert sunlight into electricity.

The magic is in the chemistry. Tiny, nanoscopic metal particles in the ink, at only a billionth of a meter in size, help scatter incoming sunlight and prevent the light from leaving the cell. The particles also help to absorb and convert light at wavelengths the cells could not otherwise capture on their own. What results is a more efficient and less costly means of generating electricity to power our homes and offices.

Today, ACC member DuPont acquired Innovalight. Said Innovalight founder Conrad Burk, [quote]The sheer scale and capabilities and reach that a company like DuPont brings is something we always dreamed of and now we’re part of it.[/quote]

The acquisition serves as an example of a growing industry trend: green-tech startups bursting with new and innovative technologies, but lacking in capital, joining forces with more established companies in order to help customers around the globe reduce the cost of their energy consumption. I’d say that’s good chemistry.

At ACC, we’re proud of the fact that products of chemistry – from insulation to coolants to packaging – empower our nation’s efforts to improve energy efficiency.

And, as part of our industry’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, the business of chemistry itself has relied on many of its own products to help us reduce our energy consumption by more than half since 1974.

Photo via CNET News

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