Wood fibers should provide more efficient and transparent solar panels

Scientists have developed a method to develop transparent solar panels based on a substrate made of wood fibres. The material would work significantly more efficiently than other methods of making transparent panels.

Phys.org reports this on the basis of a scientific publication that appeared in Nano Letters. The wood fiber-based material has a transparency of 96 percent, which makes it possible to install it in windows, for example. In addition, the material would be considerably more efficient at absorbing sunlight than other materials with which transparent solar panels can be built. Furthermore, the wood fiber substrate would be more environmentally friendly than existing materials and possibly also cheaper.

One of the researchers told Phys.org that the developed technique can also be used to make existing solar panels more efficient. The layer of wood fibres, which resembles a type of paper, can be placed over an existing solar panel to absorb extra sunlight: tests show that the overall efficiency can increase by about 10 percent.

According to the researchers, ways are being sought to take solar panels based on wood fibers into production. For this, the makers are still looking for partners in the business world. They also want to explore the possible applications of their technology with companies.