TDK Displays Solar Cell Creativity
Chiba, Japan–Here’s one way to disguise a solar panel. That little pocketbook-looking thing in the picture is a set ofsolar panels from TDK, the chemical and component giant from Japan. Thepanels contain a titanium oxide solar dye that is around eight percentefficient, according to company officials. Although that’s lower thanwhat one can obtain with crystalline silicon or evencopper-indium-gallium-selenide (CIGS) solar panels, the process issomewhat energy efficient. The dyes are merely coated and dried onto asubstrate. They do not have to be applied in a vacuum chamber, whichmeans far less heating and energy.
The two small panels power the fan twirling in the foreground of the picture.
One of the more interesting aspects is how the panels are wired. Thecontacts are the silvery designs that make up the silhouette of thewoman and the goose. It beats those straight grid lines of standardsolar panels. The company hopes to bring the dyes to market in somefashion in three years or more.
The prototype is one of many green exhibits on display this week at CEATEC,Japan’s version of the Consumer Electronics Show taking place this weekin Chiba near Tokyo. Japan has been a major producer and consumer ofsolar panels and energy efficiency technologies since the oil shocks ofthe early 1970s. Many manufacturers now want to expand on the exportpotential. Hence, instead of talking about screen size or screenresolution when it comes to TVS, a number of manufacturers arediscussing how their consumer electronics can curb energy consumption compared to traditional products.(I’m here heading up a committee to pick the most promisingtechnologies.) The show attracts about 100,000 attendees. It officiallybegins tomorrow.
Some other things you’ll probably read about later this week: anapplication from Fujitsu to optimize farming harvests; home electronicsrecycling from Mitsubishi; fuel cells; and organic light emittingdiodes (OLEDs). Nissanwill also show off a system that potentially improves gas mileage andsafety by allowing cars to drive better in packs and reduce braking andaccelerating. It’s inspired from how fish can swim in schools.
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