Flexible graphene films to create new breed of solar cells?
Researchers at the University of Southern California have produced flexible, transparent, carbon-atom films that have the potential to create a new type of solar cell. All organic photovoltaics use a transparent conductive electrode through which light couples with active materials to create electricity. New studies show that graphene, a highly conductive and highly transparent form of carbon made up of atoms-thick sheets of carbon atoms, show great promise to fill this role.
In its process, the USC engineering team created ultra-thin graphene sheets by first depositing carbon atoms in the form of graphene films on a nickel plate from methane gas. Then, they laid down a protective layer of thermoplastic over the graphene, and then dissolved the nickel underneath in an acid bath. In the final step, they attached the plastic-protected graphene to a very flexible polymer sheet, which can be incorporated into an OPV cell. Graphene/polymer sheets up to 150 sq cm have been manufactured.
What graphene OPVs may lack in efficiency, they could more than make up for in lower price and greater physical flexibility. USC researchers believe it may be possible to run printing presses laying extensive areas covered with inexpensive solar cells. More info
E-paper display market at $2.6 billion in 2015: study
A new NanoMarkets report predicts that e-paper will generate a $2.6-billion opportunity in 2015, based on the technology’s unique features, low power consumption and ability to be read in sunlight. By 2015, e-book readers are expected to account for over $500 million in e-paper revenues, the report forecasts. These factors, combined with the ease with which e-paper can handle dot-matrix, two-color (or grayscale) graphics, is making e-paper highly competitive with conventional LCDs for packaging applications and simple signage. More info
Pactiv reports Q2 2010 sales rise to $973 million
The Lake Forest, IL-based maker of Hefty® bags and converted packaging says its Q2 2010 income from continuing operations was $75 million. Sales rose 8% to $973 million from $901 million, reflecting 7% higher volume and 1% higher pricing. Foodservice and food-packaging sales of $612 million rose 12% from $545 million. Pactiv predicts its FY 2010 sales will increase between 8-9% based on volume growth. More info
Next Generation Films orders 6th VAREX® coex-film line
While awaiting the arrival of a new 3-layer VAREX® co-extrusion blown-film line from Windmoeller & Hoelscher, converter Next Generation Films of Lexington, OH, has placed an order for another VAREX line. This marks Next Gen’s sixth investment in W&H machinery, and the third in the past year alone. Both new high-output VAREX lines have grooved feed extruders, 35-in. OPTIFIL® P2 dies and FILMATIC® T dual turret winders. These lines will add more than 50 million lbs/yr of capacity, all of which has been presold for the production of custom films. More info
Aluminum-foil market rebounds with 16% gain
According to European Aluminium Foil Assn. (EAFA) stats, aluminum-foil demand grew 16.4% (432,200 metric tons) last year, compared to the overall 2008 market. Shipments from European foil rollers for thicker foils, used for packaging container and tray applications, and technical applications, were particularly significant showing the highest gains at 20.3 % (119,100 metric tons). Thinner foils used for flexible packaging also showed excellent growth, at 16.2 % (247,700 metric tons). More info
Case Paper adds MWU SheetWizard sheeter at Chicago plant
The custom finisher and converter’s new MarquipWardUnited SheetWizard sheeter joins more than 40 sheeters, trimmers and rewinders that the firm operates throughout its North America plants. Case Paper selected a 1,650-mm SheetWizard equipped with four-web running capability to allow versatility to handle a full range of paper and board products. The new unit replaced two older sheeters and removed the need to guillotine-sheet product. More info