A team of Korean researchers has developed a cutting-edge solar cell that might help reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
The discovery could make Korea a leader in the alternative energy industry as the research team plans to double the cell’s efficiency and commercialize the technology by 2012.
The team’s leader, Lee Kwang-hee of the Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, said on Thursday, “Together with Prof. Alan Heeger at the University of California Santa Barbara, we have developed a plastic solar cell with 6.5 percent efficiency. That level of efficiency is sufficiently high for commercial products.”
Photonics Online report states that Santa Barbara has developed a new “tandem solar cell”, capable of capturing energy from much more of the available solar spectrum. The cells are also cheaper to produce as they can be “printed” onto plastic substrate.  The university expects the technology to be on the market in the next 3 years.