Polystyrene could mean cheaper and more stable solar panels

A new technology with polystyrene is touted as a potential future design and main component of solar modules.

Researchers at Manchester University are using the plastic particles to design a new, more stable solar cell that was previously made from expensive polymers.

The Royal Society of Chemistry, which published the results, claims that using insulating polystyrene microgel particles significantly reduces costs while ensuring the overall durability of the solar cell.

Prof. Brian Saunders, Professor of Polymer and Colloid Chemistry at the University of Manchester School of Materials, said: “More research is needed to realize the full potential of this exciting PSC technology.

“Improving PSC stability and reducing the use of expensive hole transport materials (HTM) are two aspects that are receiving increasing attention.

“That’s why we’re considering how PSCs can best be manufactured, kept dry and made even more economical in the future.”

He added, “In this study we used polystyrene, which is 1 ten thousandth the cost of producing polymers, and it is also hydrophobic which helps improve the stability of PSCs. Overall, the improved stability and lower production costs far outweigh the decreased efficiency. “

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