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Organic solar cells made of wood

Researchers at Linköping University and the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) have now shown that lignin can be used to make solar cells even more environmentally friendly and reliable.

Traditional solar cells are made of silicon. They are efficient, but have an energy intensive and complicated manufacturing process. Therefore, organic solar cells are becoming more popular, thanks to their low production cost, light weight and flexibility. Unfortunately, organic solar panels are made with oil-derived plastic.

Researchers at Linköping University and KTH have now developed an organic solar cell where part of the electron transport layer connected to the cathode in the solar cell is made of what is known as kraft lignin, sourced directly from wood pulp. Although only a small part of the solar cell is currently made of lignin, the long-term goal is to build a solar cell almost entirely made from wood materials.

Photo: Thor Balkhed via EurokAlert