Can hair waste make solar panels work better?

Researchers at Queensland University of Technology found that hair scraps can be used to improve the performance of perovskites solar cells

Pathway to COP26 report

Scientists have discovered a way to ensure better days for solar panels and no more bad hair days for residents.

Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) have used hair waste sourced by a local barbershop to create carbon nanodots in a bid to make solar cells more efficient.

In a study published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the scientific team suggests that the carbon nanodots could be used to improve the performance of perovskites solar cells.

Perovskites solar cells are a new photovoltaic technology, which is believed to boost solar panels’ efficiency.

Scientists added the hair, in the form of carbon dots, to the process of making the perovskites and found that a new ‘wave-like’ layer is formed.

The study notes that perovskite solar cells covered with the carbon dots seem to have higher power conversion efficiency and greater stability compared to perovskite cells without the carbon dots.

Professor Hongxia Wang, who led the research, said: “It creates a kind of protective layer, a kind of armour.

“It protects the perovskite material from moisture or other environmental factors, which can cause damage to the materials.”

If you enjoyed this story you can sign up to our weekly email for Energy Live News – and if you’re interested in hearing more about the journey to net zero by 2050, you can also sign up to the future Net Zero newsletter. 

Latest Podcast