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Printed Solar Cells: Capturing Sunlight on Paper

solar cells

The cost of energy generated by solar power has drastically declined over the past 40 years due to new technologies and efficiency improvements. The latest invention in this field comes from Aalto University and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne. Their scientists recently developed a simple printing process that allows to print pictures able to generate power.

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Solar cells fresh off the printing press

Imagine a future in which you can carry your power supply with you: On your laptop, your cell phone and even on your clothes. This is what scientists around the world are trying to achieve in their efforts to create organic printable solar cells.

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Creating Energy from Printed Fabrics

Researchers from Fraunhofer Institute in Dresden, Germany have come up with a technology that enables printing solar cells on fabrics. This way, truck tarpaulins could be able to generate power in a few years.

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SciFutures: From Storytelling to Storydoing

Often new printing technologies and possibilities sound like coming straight from a Science-Fiction movie. Or were you able to imagine solar cells and living organs or bones coming out of a printer some years ago? So, the challenge for all innovative technologies always is to make clear that there will be a need for it in future making it worth researching on it now. SciFutures helps companies to face this challenge by using Science-Fiction storytelling and prototype building as a tool.

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Korean Scientists Invent Inkjet that Prints Electric Circuits and Super Caps


With printed electronics the two industries engineering and printing come together. Due to the developments in this sector we are able to print solar cells or flexible electronics. A recent invention might shake the world of printed electronics and take it one step further. The Korean battery scientist Sang-Young Lee from has now turned a normal inkjet printer into a machine that prints electronic circuits and supercapacitors (energy storing devices).

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Future Links February 8th

Here are our daily links with the most important news from the printing industry. Today they feature a 3D printed cast for the Super Bowl, Blackstone’s plans to acquire Norske Skog, strong growth in the packaging materials market, a step toward personalized newspapers in France, TetraPak’s expectation for it’s plant-based packages, a closer look at printed solar cells and new on the drupa blog: The Body Shop uses plastic packaging made from thin air.

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Printed trees provide renewable energy

Energy needs are constantly growing and trees are still being chopped down for firewood in many parts of the world. Scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland are turning this approach around. Instead of harvesting trees, they are printing artificial trees to harvest energy from the environment. The trees consist of wood-based 3D printed stems and printed solar cells as leaves.

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