Instructables

DIY Solar Cells through screen printing

I was wondering if anyone has seen the "plans" offered by fuellessamerica.com on producing solar cells cheaply and at home through screen printing. They claim efficiencies of 12-14% can be achieved. I know most solar cells are screen printed, but I know the doping can be difficult. Has anyone seen/done this? I have seen the American patent held by a Japanese company that outlines the process. I didn't have much time to peruse it however. I did notice they were using correct terminology, but it was obviously geared towards commercial enterprise. Any thoughts?

culepet24 days ago

i know how to screen print, i just dont know what type of ink to be used in SOLAR CELL PRINTING?

Qcks culepet23 days ago

You're looking for anthrocyanins.
These are fairly common pigments in plants, but if you have the stuff to do organic synthesis reactions, you can make them at home.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrocyanin

There's also some stuff about quinones being used, but they tend to be less stable.

Qcks culepet23 days ago

You're looking for anthrocyanins.
These are fairly common pigments in plants, but if you have the stuff to do organic synthesis reactions, you can make them at home.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrocyanin

There's also some stuff about quinones being used, but they tend to be less stable.

Qcks culepet23 days ago

You're looking for anthrocyanins.
These are fairly common pigments in plants, but if you have the stuff to do organic synthesis reactions, you can make them at home.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthrocyanin

There's also some stuff about quinones being used, but they tend to be less stable.

Vintelnet11 months ago
Hi,
May be following links shall be useful to your needs...

www.build.bemoor.com/how_to_build.php?id=20

www.build.bemoor.com/download/Homemade_Solar_Cells.pdf

I am very inquisitive to know the further progress. Your knowledge sharing shall be well appreciated.
Cheers!!!
I just thought I would pass on some information you might like to know, the screen printing of cells is possable and really cheap. You are not sure of the actual ways available to get the nitrogen onto the plate, or the crystals to form most effeicently and all that. Well I have a plotter (like a printer but it uses felt tip pens and other like pigment generating devices to make a print and by using a adjustable ball type pen I am able to get the elements onto the acitate (a type of silicon plastic, very flexable but with the dielectric properties of glass in a super thin materal) which will go threw the plotter which already handles flat materals easy. and by using the seprate chemicals in seperate ball pens after layering the ones for the selidium layer, I made a pen that fits te plotter which produces a small arc of plasma which interacts with the layers by burning off the "fuel" (I use hydrogen sillate) which produces the tems needed for a very short time to get the crystal process to happen on the plate. Well now your likely wanting to now why I am telling all of you this? It is because of this plotter I have made that a friend was so interested in (he happens to be a physics major) that he had a brilliant idea on how to make a stable "paint" that can be screen printed onto thin aluminum foil then plasma flashed to crystalize into a usable cell with a 65% efficency, he applied for a grant and is currently very close to startingmas production of a super cheap solar cell very near to the currently "grown" cells at a cost of a fraction of cells currently available. Today cells are costly because of the process to grow them and get more than 60% effeciency from them at a cost of about 50 cents a millawatt on a very fragile glass where this new process will bring the cost down to about 25 cents a watt (that figures out to about a differance between a panel to produce 100 watts at 12 volts at about 350 dollars to a much thinner, flexable, 23% smaller, panel to produce the same to about 6 dollars) So if you still wish to try making your own cells, thats fine, this is how things are discovered, but keep in mind that within 3 to 6 months, these new cells will come onto the market and make solar finally a economically way to obtain power from the sun. As far as I can figure, for my house and the fact that it is 100% electric (hot water, cooking, heat, etc.) and with all the computers I have, and that I am veery fortunate to have a very large roof facing the sun for a large part of the day, for about one thousand dollars, I can line my roof with the new cells (well thats materal cost and no labor) that will supply my home with power and enough to pump back into the current electric system for no sun times, that I couls come super close to breaking even and if the sun is more than usual for this area, actually be ahead on my total electrical costs each year. Now the availablity at first for these new cells will be hard to get because there is already a huge list of customers wanting cells when manufacturing begins, and it will take time for the manufacturing to expane to handle the orders. But within the next two years we will be seeing a huge amout of people and companies using solar power and within five years it will supply the majority of our power needs. The technology is there and it is simply a short wait befor it becomes available to all. But keep experimenting, because it is because of people like you all that has made this all possable. If you would like to work on something that needs work here is a good thing to work on. Today, cars can operate on hydrogen gas with a small upgrade. This planet has a unimaginable supply of hydrogen, the problem is getting it to a usable form, currently we can get hydrogen by sending direct current threw water which produces hydrogen, but it is super ineffecient, so experiment with new ways to seperate water into its gas forms, this is where our future will profit most.
Actually... i can see the aluminum foil being a good idea, but i'd question whether your friend has a solar cell or a sun catalyzed battery.

Using aluminum seems like you'd get more of a solid state electrolyte, which acts as a battery. If it's doing this, the aluminum should eventually degrade (probably to aluminum oxide).

That said, depending on how long it takes, and the amount of energy the cell provides before needing to be replaced, that could still be a useful thing.
bowakowa (author)  versitalbear2 years ago
I was just replying to a comment above, and read through your comment again. It has been some time, are there updates?
Hi, just wondering how much further you have progressed.

Hello,
Is your friend successful in making them? Please let me know as I want ot convert my home to solar energy ASAP.

Can you plz send me the contact details of your friend who is working on this new soalr cell design? I would like to discuss options for distrubution in my region. You can reach me at <a href="mailto:s_k_rastogi@hotmail.com">s_k_rastogi@hotmail.com</a><br />
How can we be sure you're not Martin Roscheisen's friend? hee hee
Can you send me some contact info for your friend that is working on this new cell design? I would like to discuss options for distrubution in my region. You can reach me at EMPaid@aol.com
heyitisi2 years ago
fuellessamerica.com could not be found on the web Is there a new address?
bowakowa (author)  heyitisi2 years ago
A google search turned up this, http://www.fuellesspower.com/26_Solar_cell2.htm. They also now seem to be offering "zero point energy" devices. That makes me much more skeptical of any other offering. I still see no reason it can't be done at home, with proper equipment, but I doubt this company is offering a real, complete solution.
jroyal3 years ago
Are There, " Less Toxic" substances with the same properties required? Now how far less do we lower ourselves? We could find a way to adapt solutions to achive the same end results or better? Horse urine: Blacksmiths used it to perfectly harden sabers Knives etc... It gave steel the sharpest edge, It hard something to do with how salinenity level was It controled the rate of cooling which in turn controls the Crystline structure in the Blade.

westfw6 years ago
I think the big problem is that this is likely to require "semiconductor grade" Cadmium Sulfide, which means ultra-high purity and probably grown as crystals. This is probably different from the "Cadmium Sulfide" mere mortals can get their hands on (pigment grade, probably powdered from mineral or precipitated from solution.) And cadmium compounds are right up there with chromium compounds as "poisonous, hazardous waste source, sold only to accredited labs and institutions, cannot be shipped" and etc...
jelston westfw3 years ago
I know of common battery acid being slow boiled to get the acid pure,by evaporating the water. the liquid cadmium sulfide used in large storage cells if on the glass plate,had a say wax border to fence in or create a pool if evaporated.might get the crystals . if one does not want to "cook " it try a vaccume chamber . an old freon refridgeratoin pump works the other way as a vacume pump. n8umzjoe@yahoo.com
jelston westfw3 years ago
cadmium sulfide? can new or old ni-cad batteries be a source to reclaim cadmium sulfide? I once heard of large storage cells (wet) that lasted about 10 years use, and were rebuilt .this used liquid cadmium for the electrolite.a gallon might go a long way.
I remember someone passing mention using cadmium sulfide in something, it can be had by mere mortals but probably not in pure or large amounts...
i'd use water heating panels and then use the hot water to make electricity somehow i dont expect an easy2make diy true electrical panels to be more efficient than this
one more thing to think about here. As you know you can get printers pretty cheep these days. Also you can get information on how refill ink cartages. What if???????? Mix up the mixture of cadmium Sulfide and the other items. Then refill a printer ink cartage. Now ofcourse you would have to modify the printers so as to allow glass panel to move under the ink cartage but that can be don using stepper motors. Now you can simply print a solar cell. The only thing holding me back from this experiment is know who to mix the cadmium sulfide and other chemicals. Does this stimulate any ideas for anyone?
I'm already one step ahead of you on the printer at least. I converted an ink jet printer to print on other materials. I can print on anything from a t-shirt to a ceramic tile. Now it gets even more interesting. With software I can put certain colors down in layers. The cartridges for the printer are refillable so it should be possible to lay down the different layers of chemicals possibly in one pass unless the layers had a problem bleeding through, but if not in one pass the registration on the printer is good enough that individual passes could print with different chemicals with pretty good precision and in thin layers too. The chemistry part is my weak side but in general I understand about the electrons jumping around. If someone could get the chemicals or crystals in a solution with the right viscosity and come up with a design for the printing I could print it on something. First thought was to print on something like ceramic so the heat from the sunlight could be dissipated. Most preferable would be something that will conduct heat but not electricity. Unfortunately some of the good conductors of heat are metals which are also good conductors of electricity :-( Modifying the printer is not an easy task but it is doable, I did it. There are companies that sell them and they run from $10,000 to $20,000 so unless you can make your own printer the cost of buying one will make the project only cost effective if you print allot of solar cells. If someone could make the chemical (s) mix I'd like to try to print it. Philip
Conductive glues used in micro electronic manufacture could with the rite solvent to thin be applied as a felt tip pen/marker. multiple passes to build thickness for higher currents, this on a small scale could be done by hand or on the type of plotter printer that uses pens . n8umzjoe@yahoo.com
There are glues that are conductive.the trend is to get away from led acid solder,as we are led to believe lead solder is to toxic. most new stuff manufactured (electronics) is now glued , with the rite solvent conductive glue might be applied as with a printer cartrige for the currents to pass and be combined N8umzjoe@yahoo.com
I worked in CNC in my past think of a two axes flat table , hold the applicator still and move the glass plate. look into the hobby of balsa models. there is nitrate and buterate dopes used to seal the wood and tissue which can be an adhesive and insulator,even the tissue might be of use.
There are printers already available for printing directly to CD/DVD media (Epson, for example, has several). If I can put a CD through, I would think I could put a similar thickness glass plate through. The carrier supplied is designed for a 5 1/4 inch round media, but it is primarily a piece of plastic itself, so fabricating a replacement shouldn't be all that difficult. There is, in the case of the Epson, the additional problem of resetting the chip in the cartridge after you load it with your cadmium sulfide, but there are also resetting devices for those readily available on eBay. Does that help?
Hi friends,
New to this forum.
I am an expert screen printer by profession. Have 20 year experience in screen printing and have high accuracy SCREEN PRINTING AUTOMATIC PRINTER installed for graphics print production, which is running.

The possibility of using my expertise and infrastructure to print PV cell is a great possibility.
I can assure I can produce the prints maintaining highest quality meeting stringent parameters.
Currently I am looking for parallel avenues to adopt with my existing installed system of quality machinery.

ANYBODY INTERESTED MAY EMAIL ME in what way, and with a brief description of the plan, I will be more than happy to cooperate.......

mail to: sunnyalanoly@gmail.com
romur14 years ago
Have a look at,
http://www.docstoc.com/docs/9110892/Homemade-Solar-Cells
or use a P2P network to download it.
Don't waste your money.
saifhaider5 years ago
They are called Dye-sensitized solar cell. working on it myself. Motivation is power shortage amongst all other difficulties in my country Pakistan. Would appreciate help in semantics as my current efforts end up making a electrochemical battery. Using Tio2 and different electrolytes including iodine.
IDk 'bout screenprinting, but I saw a science expeiriement book a bit ago that had instructions on how to make a solar cell with this chemical and some part form a radio.... gotta find that book.
molitor5 years ago
I'm currently teaching myself physics and chemistry while going to school for drafting and eventually engineering. I'm been surfing the net for a while looking for homemade solar cell resources. Basicly, i've found that it's still hit or miss. Nobody has really come out with a tried and true way to produce a silicon based solar cell with a viable efficiency rating. Well guess what! I've been just as successful as everyone else. But i had an idea in my head this morning, why not use the silicon in a compact disc to produce a solar cell. It's already conveniently packaged in uniform media. Wouldn't it be awesome to finally be able to recycle all those scratched and damaged cds for the great good. I'de like to hear what you guys think on the matter. And! if you want an excellent supply of relativly pure silicon, try looking for old computer hard drives. I dismantled a 1.4g (bigfoot) hard drive i had laying around and discovered three pristine 5.500" x .125" silicon discs. I'm working on build and apparatus to utilize these discs in the production of torque or mechanical energy to turn a divice i've build called a gyrostator. Tell me what you think guys!
I've been screenprinting for a few years now, and if I could print my own solar panels... that'd be sweet! I'm definitely going to try and figure this out. If you're looking for tips on screen printing. check out this pdf, now that your adobe is all updated. Good Luck!
I got ripped off and paid "Creatice Science research" or something like that $25 for the plans that are otherwise available for free from www.freepatentsline.com. I still haven't figured out how to generate the Nitrogen during the sintering process. I guess a Microwave will do for the sintering process. Please help.
Look at it this way...

These people you paid some of your hard-earned money - what are they doing to make money? Are they screen-printing dirt-cheap solar cells and selling them to the masses?

No, they make money from selling you "instructions" on how to do it.

That should tell you something...
Thats true but how do you DIY a nitrogen generator now that I've spent $25?
. Might be cheaper to buy Nitrogen/Argon/&c at a welding supply store.
Might be, but aren't nitrogen seperation membranes available around? Hoping to use either an LPG or oxy acetylene DiY furnace for sintering. Do you think this will work.
. I don't know about membranes, but I've seen Oxygen adsorbents that leave you with air minus O2 (mainly N2) for "blankets." Might have too many trace gases (including residual O2) for your purposes. And the adsorbent has to be regenerated periodically. . I'd be afraid that _any_ DIY gas would have too many impurities. . If your looking for temps around 1300F, you won't need oxy-acet. Great for cutting torches, but, IMHO, too unstable for a DIY furnace. A LPG-/natural gas-fired furnace should do the job without resorting to O2.
Actually if you can hack small scale stuff a jet lighter runs well above those temps, I'm pretty sure it's 1300C but if it was farenheit it's bang on the money, alternatively a modified kerosene lamp or a CFV stove like the ones here would make stable basis for a furnace, as would any ofr the basic forge/furnace designs here...
For the temperatures needed you might consider a kiln built for ceramics or for glass blowing, or plans for such. If a kiln can melt and glaze a ceramic coating, it should be suitable for what you want to do. A good design should also allow for the requisite temperature control.
One more thing. I have the Te and the Cd but How do you grind them up together without the sample being contaminated??
I've already built my furnace in RCC with K type thermocouple and a Digital PID tempcontroller. There is an outlet at the top as a "blanket" provision although I haven't tried the NaOH thingie yet for the N2 generation. Am hoping to do PVD with this too.
I've thought of a Kipps apparatus for NO(nitric oxide) production and then through red hot copper filings then to a compressor inlet that will store the N2 in a tank. Or perhaps in areas where the air is less polluted like the countryside then an air pump through red hot copper filings then to a compressor and storage tank. But the latter implies around 90% pure N2 but less of a hassle with chemicals(acids HNO3) and all.. Furnace can be mild steel cage with an inlet for N2 to be released from the tank. How about that?
. I have no idea about the chemistry part. Still sounds like a lot more hassle, and possibly money, than buying a small bottle of the stuff. ;) . You might need some type of refractory for the furnace. Someone in one of the Forging groups (I think they're hidden in the Craft section) will know much more about furnaces than I - try posting there.
Are there any precautions during sintering and all?? I mean like Cadmium is toxic so..... and also what about the Carbon paste. What does the Carbon slurry consist of and can we mix alluminium or Silver with i? Do you think Graphite powder will do since its difficult to come by conducting carbon powder at my place... same with N2?
uknows5 years ago
hii...i need help regarding the screen printing silicon solar cell... i have a mini project to do a silicon solar cell by screen printed but i dont know how to start...because iam new in this field...it is same step as the copper solar cell? please help me..anyone.. thanks..
djsponge5 years ago
Captain, I like the way your thinking. Check out this article. http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4253464.html?series=15
Also, I checked out the plans and was disappointed in what I found. They didn't go into much detail at all on the "heralded" Japanese patent. I guess they expect you to reverse-engineer from the patent. I'm a mechanical engineering student, and I'm gonna try to find a text on Photovoltaic cell fabrication, adapt it to the plans, and post my finding here. Wish me luck.
Let me know how it goes. if you get it going can you make a pdf?
I paid about 5 bucks the get the "plans " to make solar cells from that company. It seems like they are really pushing another book on how to screen print. But nonetheless it did have some information. As a hobby I have screen printed and I find it easy to build the frame and make the screen. Since there is no detail other than a square it is easy. You can buy different size messes to determine the detail. But the prints did not tell me the percentages to mix. Is it 40 60 or 50 50?????? \ So all the guys in this group seem to be very knowledgeable and creative. How can we prefect this? I would be willing to contribute anything I could if we could figure out how to make these solar cells. IF you read the patent, they also use piezos to vibrate the cadmium sulfide mixture to get bubbles out. Great idea. One last thing. I use to own a company in mexico and employed 54 people. We could make these solar cells cheep cheep cheep in mexico for our own use. Lets talk about this on a very serious note!
daahir6 years ago
I am trying to get semiconductor ink is there any one do where I can get I am trying to screen print
NachoMahma6 years ago
. The only thing I found that came close was SCREENPRINTING (but no mention of efficiencies). I can't find fuellessamerica.com.
. Screenprinting is not real easy, but it ain't that hard, either. It might require professional equipment ($$$) to get the precision you need (just guessing).
. Another guess is that the efficiency of a DIY PV cell (or just about anything else DIY) will be closer to half of what "can be achieved."
. If the "inks" used are not too toxic/noxious/&c, you might be able to get them printed by a local custom t-shirt shop.
.
. This sounds interesting. If you find something out, let us know.
From what I;ve found out the coarseness of the screen printed dope does not effect much on efficiencies... I have to find that link where I read that. What I'me worried is what precautions we may have to take while working with Cadmium.,
bowakowa (author)  NachoMahma6 years ago
Fuellessusa.com, thanks, my bad. I've tried 3 or 4 times to put up a pdf of the literature they're selling, but each time it posts, when I access it, my adobe crashes. I scanned the file and didn't find a virus, so it may be my version of adobe or a bad upload. I'm going to try again, if the file works for those brave enough to try it, let me know.
Whoa, that file is nearly 2 meg in size. Not very big if you have a fast connection, but it took a full 8 minutes at (about) 43 kbs.
bowakowa (author)  Goodhart6 years ago
You got it, though?
I didn't wait for the whole think to load, but after a few minutes I got a few pages, and it was still loading when I came back here.
*sigh* whole thing
bowakowa (author)  Goodhart6 years ago
Much obliged.
BTW: I have the latest update to Adobe. That may make a difference if that was created with the newest version.
bowakowa (author)  bowakowa6 years ago
Ok, doesn't work for me and that is the 3rd upload. I can open the file on my machine. Any idea what's up? I noticed the adobe reader says it has only loaded part of the file when opened, and if you try to scroll down, it crashes.
bowakowa (author)  NachoMahma6 years ago
speaking of precision, I'm kind of thinking if it can screen printed, it can be printed. We have a few nice cnc designs on here already, so we would just need a precision extruder to retrofit, I'd imagine. Processing otherwise should be the same, I once again, am imagining.
trebuchet036 years ago
I did some google digging... and found what comes in that product... Basically, not much of their own information - mostly patents other people have made....

Search google for US patent 5,538,903 and you'll get one of the articles. Apparently there's also a Japanese patent too...

The site seems iffy - they say an unbalance motor will vibrate the bubbles out just like the researchers did... Well, that might work for thick plaster molds, but according to the patent, it calls for ultrasonic vibration for at 28kHz/ 20 micrometer amplitude...

They also sintered a bit of the substrate -- 690C, which is nearly 1300 degrees F.

There seems to be some specialized process and materials:
A paste was prepared by mixing a fine powder of cadmium sulphide (CdS), cadmium chloride (CdCl.sub.2), and propylene glycol (PG), the CdCl.sub.2 being a flux, and the PG being a viscous agent.

It appears not to be something that you buy some paint, and screen print several different "colors" - bugger, I got a little excited :p
bowakowa (author)  trebuchet036 years ago
In your opinion, is it at all doable, not easy, but doable, and possibly cheap if you make the requisite tools, or is their maybe another way?
Frankly, I don't have the knowledge to say. I don't have information on how expensive the ingredients are/where to buy them... But if you had the components, and a high temperature oven.. That patent describes the processing... I didn't see an ingredient list (as far as proportions go - it might be trade secret).
bowakowa (author)  trebuchet036 years ago
I guess I'll have to do a little more studying, thanks for your thoughts!
bowakowa (author)  bowakowa6 years ago
Just throwing one more out there into the void, I have heard of large parabolics generating up to about 1600degF. Maybe that's two birds with one stone if you could sinter with that. Just make your own ceramic, steel, glass? oven, capable of pressure or vacuum.
bowakowa (author)  bowakowa6 years ago
And since this is a solar discussion, what if you used a parabolic reflector to drive a steam engine, coupled by belt or chain or simple gearing to a compressor, driving a Hilsch Vortex tube, sent the hot air back to help heat the steam body, and the cold air in pockets under solar cells on your roof, for cooling to promote efficiency. Send the spent steam through a condenser in a water heater then back in the loop, and possibly even the cooler air into your home after it cools the cells and has reached ? temp. Any thermodynamics whizzes? I suppose you would have to find some way to block the noise of the vortex tube. It'd be a nice use for all those old large satellites in peoples yards.
I think he's looking for something along these lines: http://www.answers.com/topic/dye-sensitized-solar-cells

http://www.azom.com/details.asp?ArticleID=2210

Look up: "Grätzel cells" and "Dye-sensitized solar cells" on google

"Gratzel cells"
bowakowa (author)  FrenchCrawler6 years ago
Thanks for these!
You're welcome