Iron pyrite is a mineral that can be found in Earth’s crust. In layman’s terms, it is known as fool’s gold, and in the eyes of gold diggers, it’s worthless. However, iron pyrite has lately been tested in the solar industry and proven to be useful.
A research conducted at the University of California Irvine has shown that iron pyrite can replace some very expensive materials that are being used at the moment in solar panel production. The man in charge of the research, Matt Law, said that with alternative energy and climate-change issues, we’re always in a race against time and with some insight and a little bit of luck, we could find a good solution with something that’s now disposed of as useless garbage.
The research team thinks that iron pyrite can be converted into a film that would be used for photovoltaic cells. That means that in the future fool’s gold could be used for converting solar into electrical energy (with no difference from the technology that’s being used today). What makes the main difference is the cost — the new technology would be way cheaper, primarily because of the availability of iron pyrite.
The team thinks that they will have a prototype ready within a year, and it will probably take up to 3 years until the technology is commercially available.
Although some people are criticizing this technology and don’t really believe in this research team, they remain confident that soon they will turn the solar industry around.