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Shrimp Shell Solar Systems: Say what?


Solar manufactures are continuously experimenting with new products, technology and materials that can help decrease the cost of solar panels, with the goal of making them more affordable and decreasing one of the barriers to entry into the solar market. There have been many so many innovations in the past 10 years that it is hard to keep up with the newest technologies and products. But here is one that you wont forget about: solar cells from shrimp shells.


Creative scientists from Queen Mary University of London(QMUL), the same scientists who told us that rock music can increase the efficiency of your solar panels, are always looking for innovative and unique ways to increase the success of solar adoption and efficiency.


The QMUL team created a solar cell using the chemicals found in the shrimp shells, chitin and chitosan.


Chitin and chitosan, are significantly cheaper to produce than the materials used to create traditional solar cells, not to mention much more sustainable than ruthenium or platinum. “This could be a great new way to make these versatile, quick and easy to produce solar cells from readily available, sustainable materials. Once we’ve improved their efficiency they could be used anywhere that solar cells are used now…” says Dr. Joe Briscoe, a researcher on the project.


Using hydrothermal carbonization, researches create carbon quantum dots (CQDs) from the chemicals found in crustacean shells. To make the solar cells, they coat the standard zinc oxide nanorods with the CQDs.

The efficiency of these shrimp shell cells is significantly less than those of traditional PV panels, but if it can be improved, it can be used in a variety of products such as phones, smartwatches, wearables, etc. As innovators in the solar industry, we are always excited to see the newest innovations on the market.

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