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Goodbye Silicon, Hello Graphene

Silicon, the second most abundant element in the earth’s crust, and eighth most abundant in the entire universe, may have just taken a backseat to a lesser known element: Graphene.

One of silicon’s best uses is in solar cells, though that may all change soon.

According to MIT, Graphene has the potential of providing 60 percent more energy efficiency than silicon.

So far, there aren’t any devices capable of using graphene to harvest energy, however, in the near future when companies begin testing and developing such machines, we may very well have a revolution in solar energy on our hands.

Frank Koppens of the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Spain envisions a bright future for Graphene.

He imagines it’ll be very useful in cameras, light sensors, medical equipment, etc. Future implications will depend on scientist’s understanding of how graphene absorbs sunlight, though it is speculated that we might see graphene hit the mainstream market in the next decade or so.

Nanotechnology Professor Andrea Ferrari of the University of Cambridge in the U.K. says the “material can work with any wavelength you can think of.” He continued, “There is no other material in the world with this behavior.” With the new research into possible uses, “a third layer of interest is added to graphene for optics.”

It’s a promising future for our world when new efficiencies for energy harvesting are discovered.

If graphene proves to be as potent as scientists are currently predicting, then the entire solar industry might very well be turned on its head. This game-changing element could be the answer to a great many prayers.

Since graphene is cheap, light, sturdy, and flexible, the average person will be able to afford purchasing it for everyday use, such as personal solar converters, light sensors, etc. We’ll be following this story with great interest as more is discovered.

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