A new company co-founded by the University of Cambridge and the Carbon Trust is to focus on plastic semiconductors for use in solar energy generation.
Plastic semiconductors, known in the solar industry as organic photovoltaics, offer a low-cost means of harnessing the power of the sun's rays.
The Eight19 team are now looking into ways to manufacture organic photovoltaics in a way that capitalises on this low cost while also making best use of the materials' unique characteristics.
Named for the eight minutes and 19 seconds taken by sunlight to reach the Earth through space, the organisation is also utilising the University of Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, which has the necessary plastics know-how to generate the raw materials.
By breaking through pre-existing price barriers, the researchers at the new firm hope to open up new solar markets that first and second generations of the technology cannot serve cost effectively.
Solar power is produced when the energy in sunlight excites atoms in the photovoltaic panel, prompting the release of electrons whose movement produces an electric current.