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Printed solar panels a shining light for saving energy – Sydney Morning Herald
An Australian breakthrough in lightweight solar panels that can turn any surface into an energy source could deliver a boost to local manufacturing.
The University of Newcastle Centre of Organic Electronics developed proprietary technology using organic polymers that capture solar energy and conduct electricity.
Liquid organic polymers are laid onto sheets of material by everyday printers, like ink on paper, to create a solar panel just 0.075 millimetres thick that can be stuck, with special adhesive tape, to a range of surfaces. Traditional rooftop photovoltaic solar panels use silicon to conduct electricity.
The first demonstration project for printed solar is powering a light display in Lane Cove town centre on Sydney’s north shore, with panels stuck on the roof of a covered walkway powering the entire set-up.
Professor Dastoor said that, in the near future, printed solar technology could be developed to fit almost any surface to power urban lighting, roadsides water pumps, disaster shelters, caravans and camping equipment, and be installed on anything from smart blinds for residential buildings to floating covers for dams and pools, greenhouse covers, or even yacht sails.
“Imagine a world where everyone has access to electricity, and where every surface can generate clean, low cost, sustainable energy from the sun,” Professor Dastoor said.
But it’s not all smooth sailing for printed solar. While its production cost of $10 a square metre is very low, and the panels weigh next to nothing compared with rooftop solar, which tips the scales at about 15 kilograms a square metre, printed solar is far less efficient and durable than established technologies.
Printed solar panels last for only two years and deliver just 2 per cent of the efficiency of rooftop panels, which are built to last about 20 years.
Professor Dastoor said his team had calculated that, to be competitive, his printed solar technology needed to deliver a three-year lifespan and operate at 3 per cent the efficiency of existing technology, which he said would be achieved “within the next two years”.
Outside niche applications printed solar could find a household market through a retail contract that work by “leasing your roof space for cheaper power”, Professor Dastoor said.
“The business model could be that electricity retailers offer the technology on a contract basis similar to mobile phones – the retailer installs and replaces the panels as they wear out and you get discounted power,” Professor Dastoor said.
“The way it will work
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Massive spike in demand for masks leads to sale restrictions – The Age
A day after urging millions of Victorians to don masks, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was “almost certain” that masks would be part of the state government’s long-term coronavirus response.
Mitre10 was selling packs of five N95 masks or 10 disposable masks, costing $25 and $15 respectively.
A day after urging millions of Victorians to don masks, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was “almost certain” they would be part of the state government’s long-term coronavirus response.
Premier Daniel Andrews said masks were likely to be a key tool in reopening the state.Credit:Getty Images
“This is going to be a feature of our response for a very long time, particularly when we get to the other side of this shutdown,” Mr Andrews said on Saturday.
“Part of opening up, I think it’s almost certain that the wearing of masks, where you can’t distance, will be an important feature of our next pandemic response.”
Independent designers and online retailers were also flooded with mask orders via Facebook and Instagram pages and Etsy stores.
Carlton jeweller Clara Carija started making free cloth masks for front-line workers at the start of the pandemic after her parents-in-law were caught up on one of the stricken cruise ships marooned off the coast of Uruguay.
Clara Carija started making free masks for health workers. She now charges $15 for public sales and business is booming. Credit:Penny Stephens
Ms Carija said she had previously sold a handful of masks to friends in America and parts of Australia. On Friday night, she received more than 100 orders for her Mask Maiden Melbourne store.
“I am going to be sewing like mad. I have put on pause any jewellery making for now,” she said.
Mr Andrews said he was grateful to Victorians for covering up.
“It’s quite noticeable that many more people are wearing masks now,” he said.
“It’s not compulsory, but where you are out for a lawful purpose and you believe you may not be able to maintain that 1.5 metre distance from other people, then … it’s a low cost, high reward.
“No mask is foolproof, but every contribution helps.”
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said the state had 32 million masks stockpiled for health services.
Another 2 million Australian-made reusable masks will be ordered and distributed to “priority groups”.
In a video released on Friday night, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton suggested nimble-fingered Victorians could make their own three-layered mask, and demonstrated the correct way to wear it.
“A mask should fit securely around the face, specifically covering your nose and mouth areas,” he said.
“The mask should fit snugly on your face and be secured by ties at the back of your head or by ear loops.
“Make sure that your mask does not have holes or a valve. This can result in breathing out the virus if you have coronavirus.”
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