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Scientists at the Pune-based National Chemical Laboratory, a premier agency of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), are working on plastic cells to convert the sunlight into electricity, a top scientist said.

“We are on the right track to convert energy from the sun and generate electricity” K Krishnamoorthy, lead scientist of the project at NCL, said.

Krishnamoorthy said scientists are working on a new solar energy technology using flexible plastic solar cells instead of the traditional heavy cells and silicon solar cells to tap the suns’ energy.

He said the goal was to be able to provide power to two tube lights and a fan to village households without a grid system. Once the technology is developed, one could “carry electricity with you” for basic energy needs such as charging mobiles, communication equipments of the armed forces, medical equipment in disaster hit areas, cooking food and charging low power devices.

“All that is required is a flexible plastic cells panel to be put on the roof to tap the sun energy and a device to convert it into electricity for the houses,” Krishnamoorthy, who quit as research professor at the University of Massachusetts to join NCL, said. He began research in this area in the US. The plastic cells panels could be carried in a backpack and opened like a small mat, which will convert energy from the sun into electricity, he explained.

“The challenge now is to build an efficient device which will convert solar energy into electricity. Our aim is to achieve 10-15 per cent efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity by the end of 2012 from the present 2-5 per cent efficiency we have achieved,” he said.

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