Electrically Conductive Plastics

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Electrically Conductive Plastics Instead of conducting electricity and producing light, as is done in flat-panel 21 Kyoto Semiconductor Corp., Japan (http://www.kyosemi.co.jp). 22 Olson, J, and Kurtz, S., “Multi-Junction, Monolithic Solar Cell Using Low-Band-Gap Materials Lattice-Matched to GaAs or Ge,” Patent no. 6,281,426, National Renewable Energy Press Release (http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2007/502.html). 23 In principle, these devices are made by linking together a large number of modern semi-conductor thermocouples in a series. A thermocouple consists of two electrical conductors of different materials joined together at both ends. If the junctions are kept at different temperatures, an electric current is generated and flows through the conductors. Figure 10-18 Spherical Solar Cells. Image Courtesy of: Kyosemi Semiconductor Corp., Japan (http://www.kyosemi.co.jp/). 236 displays, electrically conductive plastics run in reverse - they absorb light and produce electricity. Conventional solar cells are relatively expensive. The low cost and inherent flexibility of the electrically conductive plastics mean that they can be deposited as coatings hundreds of times thinner than the silicon crystals used in conventional solar cells and can be used on a range of materials such as glass and roofing tiles. Efficiencies as high as 3-4.5% have been reported.24 Environmental Impacts Photovoltaics are considered to be among some of the most environmental friendly energy alternatives. Their operation produces no pollution, does not contribute to global warming, and is noise free. Although PV operation is generally clean, its manufacturing (and disposal) is associated with the production of some of the most toxic materials such as cadmium and arsenic. Furthermore, some fossil or other non-renewable energy sources are normally used during their production. With proper safety precautions, the total emission is, however, small as compared to fossil burning.

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