Posts tagged solar power

Solar powered screen extends battery life by 20%.
French company SunPartner have developed a 300 micron thick transparent layer able to be added above or below a regular touchscreen which can harvest energy from sunlight.
The low cost panel uses stripes of standard thin-film solar cells alternating with transparent film. It then adds a layer of tiny lenses that spread the image coming from the screen to make the opaque stripes disappear and to concentrate rays coming in from the sun.
The company say the panel is currently being tested with a ‘number of manufacturers’ and they hope licensing deals to follow which will see phones using the technology come to market in 2014.

Solar powered screen extends battery life by 20%.

French company SunPartner have developed a 300 micron thick transparent layer able to be added above or below a regular touchscreen which can harvest energy from sunlight.

The low cost panel uses stripes of standard thin-film solar cells alternating with transparent film. It then adds a layer of tiny lenses that spread the image coming from the screen to make the opaque stripes disappear and to concentrate rays coming in from the sun.

The company say the panel is currently being tested with a ‘number of manufacturers’ and they hope licensing deals to follow which will see phones using the technology come to market in 2014.

Flexible, organic solar cells begin production, will be integrated into buildings.
Solar energy startup Heliatek are only weeks away from beginning production of their organic photovoltaic cells in a new factory in Germany. The company claims to be a world leader in the technique, after developing a technology based on ‘small molecules’ which allows for a 12% conversion efficiency. They are aiming for 16% by 2016.
The cells are cheaper to mass produce than traditional methods, and claim to have excellent performance in low light. One of the first uses for the technology will see it integrated into building facades and concrete on the outside of new low-energy buildings in Europe, to meet new directives for building energy efficiency which come into place in 2020.
In the picture above the grey external panels are the photovoltaic cells, which will come in a range of colours. To make the panels the cells are applied to a thin plastic panel, so they will be stronger and not prone to breaking like normal glass solar panels.

Flexible, organic solar cells begin production, will be integrated into buildings.

Solar energy startup Heliatek are only weeks away from beginning production of their organic photovoltaic cells in a new factory in Germany. The company claims to be a world leader in the technique, after developing a technology based on ‘small molecules’ which allows for a 12% conversion efficiency. They are aiming for 16% by 2016.

The cells are cheaper to mass produce than traditional methods, and claim to have excellent performance in low light. One of the first uses for the technology will see it integrated into building facades and concrete on the outside of new low-energy buildings in Europe, to meet new directives for building energy efficiency which come into place in 2020.

In the picture above the grey external panels are the photovoltaic cells, which will come in a range of colours. To make the panels the cells are applied to a thin plastic panel, so they will be stronger and not prone to breaking like normal glass solar panels.

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.

Printable solar cells could turn anything into an energy source.
A team at MIT has developed a process to ‘print’ solar cells onto almost any surface. Using chemical vapour deposition, the process uses “abundant organic molecules” to convert about 2 percent of the available energy into light. Typical solar panels are around 12-17% efficient, but the team thinks 10% efficiency is achievable.

The cost of installing panels keeps many people from adopting solar power, Barr says. By integrating it into ordinary materials, he thinks he can clear that hurdle. “You’re already hanging a curtain in your house,” he says. “Why not add some energy to that?”

Printable solar cells could turn anything into an energy source.

A team at MIT has developed a process to ‘print’ solar cells onto almost any surface. Using chemical vapour deposition, the process uses “abundant organic molecules” to convert about 2 percent of the available energy into light. Typical solar panels are around 12-17% efficient, but the team thinks 10% efficiency is achievable.

The cost of installing panels keeps many people from adopting solar power, Barr says. By integrating it into ordinary materials, he thinks he can clear that hurdle. “You’re already hanging a curtain in your house,” he says. “Why not add some energy to that?”

New solar cell technique could more than double efficiency.
A joint Australian/German research team have developed a way to boost efficiency of solar cells up to a record breaking 40% efficiency. Current panels have around 12-17% efficiency.
Called photochemical upconversion, the process captures energy that is normally lost in solar cells.

"We are able to boost efficiency by forcing two energy-poor red photons in the cell to join and make one energy-rich yellow photon that can capture light, which is then turned into electricity," Associate Professor Schmidt said.
"We now have a benchmark for the performance of an upconverting solar cell. We need to improve this several times, but the pathway is now clear."

New solar cell technique could more than double efficiency.

A joint Australian/German research team have developed a way to boost efficiency of solar cells up to a record breaking 40% efficiency. Current panels have around 12-17% efficiency.

Called photochemical upconversion, the process captures energy that is normally lost in solar cells.

"We are able to boost efficiency by forcing two energy-poor red photons in the cell to join and make one energy-rich yellow photon that can capture light, which is then turned into electricity," Associate Professor Schmidt said.

"We now have a benchmark for the performance of an upconverting solar cell. We need to improve this several times, but the pathway is now clear."

3D solar cell structures found to increase power output.
Researchers at MIT have found a way to produce more solar electricity within a given area by building 3D structures to display the solar panels on.
While most research into improvements in solar power go towards improving performance in the photovoltaic cells themselves, the team found that this relatively simple method boosted power output by between two and 20 times, compared to fixed flat panels with the same base area.

The biggest boosts in power were seen in the situations where improvements are most needed: in locations far from the equator, in winter months and on cloudier days.
The basic physical reason for the improvement in power output — and for the more uniform output over time — is that the 3-D structures’ vertical surfaces can collect much more sunlight during mornings, evenings and winters, when the sun is closer to the horizon, says co-author Marco Bernardi, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

3D solar cell structures found to increase power output.

Researchers at MIT have found a way to produce more solar electricity within a given area by building 3D structures to display the solar panels on.

While most research into improvements in solar power go towards improving performance in the photovoltaic cells themselves, the team found that this relatively simple method boosted power output by between two and 20 times, compared to fixed flat panels with the same base area.

The biggest boosts in power were seen in the situations where improvements are most needed: in locations far from the equator, in winter months and on cloudier days.

The basic physical reason for the improvement in power output — and for the more uniform output over time — is that the 3-D structures’ vertical surfaces can collect much more sunlight during mornings, evenings and winters, when the sun is closer to the horizon, says co-author Marco Bernardi, a graduate student in MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

Next IKAROS destination revealed.
Japan’s first IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) spacecraft successfully deployed its solar sail in 2010. The demonstration spacecraft used a wide, thin film to produce propulsion using photos sent out from the Sun, known as radiation pressure. It also uses thin film solar cells to power the electronics, quidance, and communications. After launching on May 21, it passed all tests successfully and flew past Venus in December 2010. The craft is still in use to allow researchers “to enhance the skill of controlling solar sail.”.
Now Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency has revealed their next plan. A ‘Future Solar Power Sail Demonstrator’ will launch late this decade and have a diameter of 50m (164 feet) - 2.5 times wider than the current craft - and will include integrated ion-propulsion engines. The new spacecraft will visit Jupiter and the Trojan Asteroids. According to the agency, the research will lead to lower cost solar cells, and help power future solar powered satellite systems.

Next IKAROS destination revealed.

Japan’s first IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) spacecraft successfully deployed its solar sail in 2010. The demonstration spacecraft used a wide, thin film to produce propulsion using photos sent out from the Sun, known as radiation pressure. It also uses thin film solar cells to power the electronics, quidance, and communications. After launching on May 21, it passed all tests successfully and flew past Venus in December 2010. The craft is still in use to allow researchers “to enhance the skill of controlling solar sail.”.

Now Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency has revealed their next plan. A ‘Future Solar Power Sail Demonstrator’ will launch late this decade and have a diameter of 50m (164 feet) - 2.5 times wider than the current craft - and will include integrated ion-propulsion engines. The new spacecraft will visit Jupiter and the Trojan Asteroids. According to the agency, the research will lead to lower cost solar cells, and help power future solar powered satellite systems.

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”.

Electric plane almost ready to go on sale.
The Elektra One electric airplane goes on show at the  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this week. With a 26-kilowatt, 220 pound battery,  the nearly silent plane can fly for about three hours or 250 miles.
The company sells the aircraft as a package with a solar-charging hangar, and is already planning the next generation aircraft: one with solar panels in the wings which will increase range by around 30% on a sunny day.
While the Elektra One is only single seater, the company plans for aircraft for up to six passengers in the near future, although larger electric passenger planes are at least two decades away, due to poor battery performance.  "They are too heavy," says a developer. "We need to improve the battery efficiency to go to the airliner step by a factor of 10. And the rate of improvement of the battery is 12 percent a year. So you can calculate how much time it will take."
A complete system — solar-equipped plane combined with a solar charging hanger, will retail for around $145,000 and have an operating cost of less than $50 an hour.

Electric plane almost ready to go on sale.

The Elektra One electric airplane goes on show at the  EAA AirVenture Oshkosh this week. With a 26-kilowatt, 220 pound battery,  the nearly silent plane can fly for about three hours or 250 miles.

The company sells the aircraft as a package with a solar-charging hangar, and is already planning the next generation aircraft: one with solar panels in the wings which will increase range by around 30% on a sunny day.

While the Elektra One is only single seater, the company plans for aircraft for up to six passengers in the near future, although larger electric passenger planes are at least two decades away, due to poor battery performance.  "They are too heavy," says a developer. "We need to improve the battery efficiency to go to the airliner step by a factor of 10. And the rate of improvement of the battery is 12 percent a year. So you can calculate how much time it will take."

A complete system — solar-equipped plane combined with a solar charging hanger, will retail for around $145,000 and have an operating cost of less than $50 an hour.

MSN

Quantum Dots could make electricity-generating paint.
The nano-particles are able to turn light into electricity, and have potential to be produced cheaply enough to make a ‘paint’ able to harness solar power. Researchers in Toronto have now discovered that by varying the size of the dots, they can absorb different parts of the solar spectrum.
By using this approach, the researchers were able to create the world’s first two-layered solar cell. The team hopes to create cells with 3 or 4 layers to improve efficiency. Their current goal is to achieve 10 percent efficiency within five years - at which point they would become a cost efficient way of generating power.
With a high enough efficiency the technique could one day be used to coat tablets or smart phones to generate their own power.

Quantum Dots could make electricity-generating paint.

The nano-particles are able to turn light into electricity, and have potential to be produced cheaply enough to make a ‘paint’ able to harness solar power. Researchers in Toronto have now discovered that by varying the size of the dots, they can absorb different parts of the solar spectrum.

By using this approach, the researchers were able to create the world’s first two-layered solar cell. The team hopes to create cells with 3 or 4 layers to improve efficiency. Their current goal is to achieve 10 percent efficiency within five years - at which point they would become a cost efficient way of generating power.

With a high enough efficiency the technique could one day be used to coat tablets or smart phones to generate their own power.