Solar power is great for the environment, but solar panels kinda aren’t The manufacturing process is full of chemicals and waste products, and panels themselves will just sit around in a heap once they’ve lived out their useful lifespans. But researchers are working now on making better solar panels — and one group has made solar cells partially out of plant-derived cellulose.
In essence, this is the singularity of green tech: solar panels made from trees. Even better, these solar cells are able to convert sunlight into energy at a respectable level of efficiency.
And, when they’ve outlived their usefulness, just plop the panels in water and the plant-based part will dissolve. Overall, it’s a great idea. But we do hope they have a solution for how to protect these things from the rain.
Trees Used to Create Recyclable, Efficient Solar Cell, Georgia Institute of Technology.