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Roll your own Solar Cell
November 22, 2009 10:04 AM   Subscribe

Make your own solar cell out of powdered donuts, Everclear, Tazo Passion tea, and other common ingredients. (slyt)

Sure, it's not practical for anything, but hey, at least you get an idea of how solar panels are made and work.
posted by mccarty.tim (19 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Thanks, that was pretty good.
posted by Long Way To Go at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2009


Fun stuff!
posted by Zinger at 10:44 AM on November 22, 2009


He left out the part about how to make your own conductive glass.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 10:44 AM on November 22, 2009 [2 favorites]


This is a bit misleading. The "normal" solar cells that are used in calculators etc. are made from silicon, while dye-sensitized solar cells (also called Grätzel cells) made from titanium dioxide and anthocyanin (or donuts and tea) are a completely different thing. They are a much more recent invention than the silicon solar cells and are not yet widely used.
<\scientist-mode>
posted by amf at 10:45 AM on November 22, 2009


So everything seemed pretty common except the conducting glass. They used indium-doped, tin-oxide coated glass, aka ITO glass. It's not cheap. 25 slides of the type used in the video run $180 - $280, depending on the resistance.
posted by jedicus at 10:47 AM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Powdered doughnuts, everclear, and tea sound like the makings of a good party.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:58 AM on November 22, 2009


This is neat. I actually work on (high-tech versions of) DSSC. You can order a kit online for children/interested adults to make something similar to these through the Univ. Wisconsin, I believe. I've also heard that they make them at science/children's museums on occasion as an activity. It's a fun way to learn about how solar cells operate.
posted by peppito at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2009


Sorry, I didn't know the conductive glass was so expensive. If someone wants to provide a video on how to make that at home, feel free.

Also, aren't some companies looking into making full-scale TiO2 panels because of the silicon shortage?

IANAScientist, but I do download a few science podcasts...
posted by mccarty.tim at 1:41 PM on November 22, 2009


The kit peppito mentioned is available from a couple of sources. You can get them directly from the University of Wisconsin or from this company. It's only $45, which is pretty reasonable, and has (nearly) everything you need to make 5 solar cells.
posted by jedicus at 1:47 PM on November 22, 2009


Also, aren't some companies looking into making full-scale TiO2 panels because of the silicon shortage?

People are working on a lot of things, it really is getting diverse for solar, which is good.

The kit peppito mentioned is available from a couple of sources.

Yeah, that's it.
posted by peppito at 2:18 PM on November 22, 2009


Powdered doughnuts, everclear, and tea sound like the makings of a good party.

Weird, I thought that was a packing list for some sort of Glenn Beck rally.
posted by rokusan at 3:00 PM on November 22, 2009


Am I too late to post an unfunny tea party/Beck joke?
posted by hamida2242 at 3:26 PM on November 22, 2009


Better luck next time I guess :(
posted by hamida2242 at 3:26 PM on November 22, 2009


I thought it said "powered donuts" at first, and I was like "well no wonder you can get energy from all that, you're using powered donuts!"
posted by Evilspork at 4:17 PM on November 22, 2009


There's a … silicon shortage‽ When did we reach Peak Lithosphere?

FYI, there's an older DIY solar cell technique involving cuprous oxide, which doesn't require any exotic materials.
posted by hattifattener at 4:57 PM on November 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Grätzel should have won the Nobel this year.
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 10:33 PM on November 22, 2009


Aren't LCD displays conductive glass? (When they are glass at all, I mean.) Or is that a conductive layer somehow painted on the glass?
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on November 23, 2009


Am I too late to post an unfunny tea party/Beck joke?

Yes, by 26 minutes.
posted by rokusan at 9:56 AM on November 23, 2009


DU: LCDs often (always?) use ITO on glass, which is exactly the expensive conductive glass this example uses.
posted by hattifattener at 12:50 AM on November 24, 2009


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