Brown liquor and solar cells to provide sustainable electricity
Wait, did he say liquor?
A breakthrough for inexpensive electricity from solar cells, and a massive investment in wind power, will mean a need to store energy in an intelligent way. According to research at Linköping University, published in Science, batteries of biological waste products from pulp mills could provide the solution.
Organic solar cells based on conductive plastic is a low cost alternative that has achieved high enough performance to be upscaled and, in turn, become competitive. However, solar electricity must be able to be stored from day to night, as well as electricity from wind turbines from windy to calm days.
In conventional batteries metal oxides conduct the charge. Materials, such as cobalt, are expensive and a limited resource, therefore, low cost solutions are sought preferably with renewable materials.
"Nature solved the problem long ago," says Olle Inganäs, professor of biomolecular and organic electronics at Linköping University (LiU) and lead author of the article in this week's edition of Science.