Solar cells, today dominated by silicon, are expensive, so more and more researchers are interested in the possibility of manufacturing solar cells from other materials, plastic or organic. These new cells also have the advantage of being more flexible and thus more malleable than the cells made from silicon or even glass.
In May 2011, German researchers at the University of Bayreuth (Bavaria) have developed a method to measure the absorption of light by a molecule, which is a major advance for the field.
In July 2011, the materials scientist Michael Grätzel who received the Award of Excellence from the Gutenberg University of Mainz (Rhineland Palatinate), for his work on photovoltaic cells stained using the principle of photosynthesis. Sunlight is converted by the cell (known by the researcher “Grätzel cell”) into electricity, using organic dyes. The allocation of €20,000 should be used by Swiss-German scientists to continue their research at the university and the laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Finally, the foundation of Baden-Württemberg, a German foundations of the most invested in scientific research, has announced a budget of €3.5 million to support six research projects in the field of Organic photovoltaics. The program “organic cells and cells stained” aims to increase the efficiency of these cells and improve production processes.
A joint project (“Initiative colored cells”) of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, the University of Ulm and University of Technology and Economics (HTW) in Aalen, was chosen to work also on the quality of the electrolyte. The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for his work on the industrialization of the manufacturing processes of these solar cells, including the inorganic chemistry and nanotechnology. What consolidate orientation towards renewable energy as the foundation of the Land Baden-Württemberg.