Posts tagged solar

Transparent solar panels could replace your windows.
German startup company Heliatek are testing their flexible, transparent solar panels which could one day be built into houses to act as power-generating windows.
The panels are only able to convert around 8% of available energy into electricity, compared with around 12-17% for traditional solar panels, but the company claims that they are able to make up for that by providing better performance in low light and high heat to provide almost the same energy production overall.
The technology works by depositing a layer of organic molecules on polyester films, in a similar way to how OLED displays are produced.
The company recently started making a small amount of panels on a “proof of concept” production line, and say that within four to five years the cost should come down to  around 40 to 50 cents per watt, which will make them competitively priced compared to conventional solar panels. The new technology would also work out cheaper to install in new houses, as opposed to having to install windows as well as conventional solar panels on the roof.

Transparent solar panels could replace your windows.

German startup company Heliatek are testing their flexible, transparent solar panels which could one day be built into houses to act as power-generating windows.

The panels are only able to convert around 8% of available energy into electricity, compared with around 12-17% for traditional solar panels, but the company claims that they are able to make up for that by providing better performance in low light and high heat to provide almost the same energy production overall.

The technology works by depositing a layer of organic molecules on polyester films, in a similar way to how OLED displays are produced.

The company recently started making a small amount of panels on a “proof of concept” production line, and say that within four to five years the cost should come down to  around 40 to 50 cents per watt, which will make them competitively priced compared to conventional solar panels. The new technology would also work out cheaper to install in new houses, as opposed to having to install windows as well as conventional solar panels on the roof.

New flexible solar cells are thinner than spider silk.
Austrian scientists have developed flexible, stretchable solar cells on thin plastic foil substrates, able to generate a record 10 watts per gram. The cells have a 4.2% power conversion efficiency, which puts it ahead of this flexible solar system I covered earlier this week. Typical solar panels have around 12-17% efficiency.
The above image shows the cells being wrapped around a human hair only 70 microns wide. The cells are based on a commercially available substrate of PET film, with the total device measuring 1.9 microns thick - around a quarter of the thickness of traditional solar cells.

New flexible solar cells are thinner than spider silk.

Austrian scientists have developed flexible, stretchable solar cells on thin plastic foil substrates, able to generate a record 10 watts per gram. The cells have a 4.2% power conversion efficiency, which puts it ahead of this flexible solar system I covered earlier this week. Typical solar panels have around 12-17% efficiency.

The above image shows the cells being wrapped around a human hair only 70 microns wide. The cells are based on a commercially available substrate of PET film, with the total device measuring 1.9 microns thick - around a quarter of the thickness of traditional solar cells.

Solar tornado images captured.
The images were collected by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite last September. The tornado is five times the size of Earth.

Solar tornadoes occur when super-heated gases get sucked up from sun and spiral towards its atmosphere. Along the way, these gases, traveling at about 185,000 miles per hour, drag magnetic fields and electric currents into the high atmosphere, according to Aberystwyth University.

Solar tornado images captured.

The images were collected by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory satellite last September. The tornado is five times the size of Earth.

Solar tornadoes occur when super-heated gases get sucked up from sun and spiral towards its atmosphere. Along the way, these gases, traveling at about 185,000 miles per hour, drag magnetic fields and electric currents into the high atmosphere, according to Aberystwyth University.

New research could increase solar cell efficiency.
Current photovoltaic cells work by absorbing photons from the sun, and converting each one photon into one electron - enough electrons in a stream is then used as electricity. This system is only capable of converting up to 34% of the available sunlight into electricity.
New research at the University of Cambridge has allowed two electrons to be generated for every photon, enabling up to 44% efficiency. 

The Cambridge team, led by Professor Neil Greenham and Professor Sir Richard  Friend, has developed a hybrid cell which absorbs red light and harnesses the extra energy of blue light to boost the electrical current. 
By adding pentacene, an organic semiconductor, the solar cells can generate two electrons for every photon from the blue light spectrum.  This could enable the cells to capture 44% of the incoming solar energy.

The team also says that the new cells would be cheaper to produce, because “Organic and hybrid solar cells have an advantage over current silicon-based technology because they can be produced in large quantities at low cost by roll-to-roll printing”.

New research could increase solar cell efficiency.

Current photovoltaic cells work by absorbing photons from the sun, and converting each one photon into one electron - enough electrons in a stream is then used as electricity. This system is only capable of converting up to 34% of the available sunlight into electricity.

New research at the University of Cambridge has allowed two electrons to be generated for every photon, enabling up to 44% efficiency. 

The Cambridge team, led by Professor Neil Greenham and Professor Sir Richard  Friend, has developed a hybrid cell which absorbs red light and harnesses the extra energy of blue light to boost the electrical current.

By adding pentacene, an organic semiconductor, the solar cells can generate two electrons for every photon from the blue light spectrum.  This could enable the cells to capture 44% of the incoming solar energy.

The team also says that the new cells would be cheaper to produce, because “Organic and hybrid solar cells have an advantage over current silicon-based technology because they can be produced in large quantities at low cost by roll-to-roll printing”.

Photo: Comet Lovejoy
I took this photo early Christmas morning, near Nelson, New Zealand.
Comet Lovejoy was only discovered in November, as it was travelling towards the Sun. It was not expected to survive the encounter, but the Solar Dynamics Observatory, as well as other Sun-monitoring spacecraft, observed the comet emerge from the corona intact, having passed around 140,000km from the Sun’s surface.
The comet is expected to pass the Sun again in the year 2677.

Photo: Comet Lovejoy

I took this photo early Christmas morning, near Nelson, New Zealand.

Comet Lovejoy was only discovered in November, as it was travelling towards the Sun. It was not expected to survive the encounter, but the Solar Dynamics Observatory, as well as other Sun-monitoring spacecraft, observed the comet emerge from the corona intact, having passed around 140,000km from the Sun’s surface.

The comet is expected to pass the Sun again in the year 2677.

First practical “artificial leaf” revealed.

Scientists today claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy — development of the first practical artificial leaf. The system is an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics photosynthesis, the process green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly. Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said. It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.
 
The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

First practical “artificial leaf” revealed.

Scientists today claimed one of the milestones in the drive for sustainable energy — development of the first practical artificial leaf. The system is an advanced solar cell the size of a poker card that mimics photosynthesis, the process green plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

“A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades,” said Daniel Nocera, Ph.D., who led the research team. “We believe we have done it. The artificial leaf shows particular promise as an inexpensive source of electricity for homes of the poor in developing countries. Our goal is to make each home its own power station,” he said. “One can envision villages in India and Africa not long from now purchasing an affordable basic power system based on this technology.”

About the shape of a poker card but thinner, the device is fashioned from silicon, electronics and catalysts, substances that accelerate chemical reactions that otherwise would not occur, or would run slowly. Placed in a single gallon of water in a bright sunlight, the device could produce enough electricity to supply a house in a developing country with electricity for a day, Nocera said. It does so by splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen.
 
The hydrogen and oxygen gases would be stored in a fuel cell, which uses those two materials to produce electricity, located either on top of the house or beside it.

New device creates fuel from sunlight
US and Swiss scientists have developed a machine that they say can turn the Sun’s energy into fuel. Current solar panels are only able to produce energy but can’t store it, but this new approach allows the energy from the Sun to be converted into hydrogen, which can then be stored and transported.
The prototype built so far can only harness around 0.7% of the energy taken in, but it is thought efficiency of around 19% can be achieved, which would allow it to be viable as a commercial device.

New device creates fuel from sunlight

US and Swiss scientists have developed a machine that they say can turn the Sun’s energy into fuel. Current solar panels are only able to produce energy but can’t store it, but this new approach allows the energy from the Sun to be converted into hydrogen, which can then be stored and transported.

The prototype built so far can only harness around 0.7% of the energy taken in, but it is thought efficiency of around 19% can be achieved, which would allow it to be viable as a commercial device.

The US Army have been checking out technology for flexible and lightweight solar powered tents that would be able to charge their communications and computers.
"They are ideal for charging up batteries, making sure your (communications), night vision goggles and computers are powered up. You don’t want a generator on top of a mountain, and you don’t want to have to bring fuel to a generator or haul batteries,"
Full story here at Engadget.

The US Army have been checking out technology for flexible and lightweight solar powered tents that would be able to charge their communications and computers.

"They are ideal for charging up batteries, making sure your (communications), night vision goggles and computers are powered up. You don’t want a generator on top of a mountain, and you don’t want to have to bring fuel to a generator or haul batteries,"

Full story here at Engadget.