Solar energy through ChemisTree

Solar Energy Through ChemisTree Photo: Glen Forde
Photo: Glen Forde

There is nothing new in obtaining thermal energy from trees and electrical energy from the sun. But is it possible to use trees in electricity production? 

Surprisingly, yes, it is! How? The answer is simple, using materials derived from trees, such as cellulose, to construct the different components of solar cells. 

This innovative concept emerges from the fact that transparent cellulose films can enable greater efficiency of solar cells through their haze effect. Besides, replacing the environmentally costly glass substrates by cellulose films enables the recycling and recovery of expensive and rare components present in solar panels. 

The goal is to increase the sustainability of solar cell technology and to reduce polluting from the inappropriate disposal of these panels.

This research project is a collaboration with University of Turku, University of British Columbia, and RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. It is a part of the FinnCERES Materials Bioeconomy Ecosystem, and it innovates new materials for the production of solar cells.

The team:

  • Joice Jaqueline Kaschuk, Department of Bioproducts, and Biosystems, Aalto University
  • Weiqing Kong, Department of Bioproducts, and Biosystems, Aalto University
  • Jaana Vapaavuori, Department of Chemistry and Materials Science, Aalto University
  • Kati Miettunen, University of Turku
  • Tiffany Abitbol, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden
  • Orlando Rojas, Department of Bioproducts, and Biosystems, Aalto University and University of British Columbia

Contact information: [email protected]

Jaana Vapaavuori and Kati Miettunen receive significant funding for developing new composite biomaterials

Four million euros of funding has been granted to research supporting the forest industry and forestry sector in Finland and Sweden.

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Uusi pohjoismaalainen projekti kehittää huipputehoisia puupohjaisia materiaaleja aurinkokennoihin. Kuva: Kati Miettunen.

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