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True energy independence requires that we can manufacture the systems that collect solar or other renewable energy while using only those same renewable sources of energy.

Researchers at Oregon State University therefore celebrate their breakthrough in producing solar energy materials with the power of the sun. Even better, the process offers time saving and cost benefits over current processes.

The new process relies on a continuous production process. Solar power heats materials in a continuous flow micro-reactor to generate a photosensitive ink which can be used to print thin film solar panels. Compared to current manufacturing methods, which are mostly batch processed, the continuous flow approach saves time — producing materials in minutes that might take half an hour to several hours by traditional methods.

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