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Archive for the ‘solar power’ category

Oct 1, 2022

New aerogel could produce 70 times more hydrogen than other methods

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Hydrogen generation using abundant solar energy together with semiconductor photocatalysts holds significant potential to produce clean and sustainable energy carriers.

ETH Zurich researchers have developed a new photocatalyst made from an aerogel that could enable more efficient hydrogen production. The aerogel increases the efficiency of converting light into hydrogen energy, producing up to 70 times more hydrogen than rival methods.

Aerogels are extraordinary materials that have set Guinness World Records more than a dozen times, including the honorary position of becoming one of the world’s lightest solids. Professor Markus Niederberger from the Laboratory for Multifunctional Materials at ETH Zurich has been working with these special materials for some time.

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Sep 30, 2022

Chemists suggest using polymeric ionic liquids in supercapacitors

Posted by in categories: chemistry, physics, solar power, sustainability

A team of researchers from HSE MIEM joined colleagues from the Institute of Non-Classical Chemistry in Leipzig to develop a theoretical model of a polymeric ionic liquid on a charged conductive electrode. They used approaches from polymer physics and theoretical electrochemistry to demonstrate the difference in the behavior of electrical differential capacitance of polymeric and ordinary ionic liquids for the first time. The results of the study were published in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics.

Polymerized ionic liquids (PIL) are a relatively new class of materials with increasing applications in various fields, from the development of new electrolytes to the creation of solar cells. Unlike ordinary room temperature ionic liquids (liquid organic salts in which cations and anions move freely), in PILs, cations are usually linked in long polymeric chains, while anions move freely. In recent years, PILs have been used (along with ordinary ionic liquids) as a filling in the production of supercapacitors.

Supercapacitors are devices that store energy in an electric double layer on the surface of an electrode (as in electrodes of platinum, gold and carbon, for example). Compared, for example, to an accumulator, supercapacitors accumulate more energy and do so faster. The amount of energy a is able to accumulate is known as its ‘’.

Sep 29, 2022

Netherlands researchers break the 30 percent barrier in solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Four terminal perovskite-silicon photovoltaic designs helped them in their cause.

A collaboration of researchers from various institutes in the Netherlands broke the 30 percent barrier associated with solar cells. The achievement will help uptakeworldwide solar energy and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, an organizational press release said.

Even as governments across the world are promoting solar energy in their bid to reduce carbon emissions, the adoption of the technology has been limited by its energy conversion efficiency. Most commercially available solar panels top out at 22 percent energy conversion efficiency.

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Sep 27, 2022

Our solar power dreams are threatened by shadows, we shouldn’t ignore them for long

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Save your solar panels from the shade.

Currently, solar power accounts for 3.3 percent of the total energy produced in the US, and it has become the fastest-growing source of clean energy in the country. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that by 2050, the share of solar energy in America’s total electricity production could reach 45 percent. However, in order to achieve this milestone, solar energy experts will have to make photovoltaic systems more efficient and advanced than ever.

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Sep 25, 2022

Is Space Force moving fast enough for its Rapid Capabilities Office?

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

“I need to have the processes in place for rapid fielding and acceptance of these things, and that’s not getting a lot of traction right now,” Space RCO Director Kelly Hammett said Sept. 12 at the Air, Space and Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md.

The Space RCO aims to develop the first few units of a defense system and then hand them off to Space Systems Command, the Space Force’s acquisition arm, to manage production. Hammett said his team is on track to deliver 10–12 projects over the next three years.

Because most of its programs are classified, the office has not revealed details on the technology and scope of its first deliveries. According to fiscal 2023 budget documents, the Space RCO is supporting an Air Force Research Laboratory effort to use solar energy to provide “logistically agile power” to forces on the ground. Its unclassified budget request included $36 million for that effort and about $9 million to support space capability studies.

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Sep 22, 2022

Plant-Based Strategy for Harvesting Light

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

A new photodetector design borrows its light-gathering architecture from plants, offering a potential path to more efficient solar cells.

Sep 20, 2022

Carbon nanotubes boost efficiency in “nanobionic” bacterial solar cells

Posted by in categories: cyborgs, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability, transhumanism

Engineers at EPFL have found a way to insert carbon nanotubes into photosynthetic bacteria, which greatly improves their electrical output. They even pass these nanotubes down to their offspring when they divide, through what the team calls “inherited nanobionics.”

Solar cells are the leading source of renewable energy, but their production has a large environmental footprint. As with many things, we can take cues from nature about how to improve our own devices, and in this case photosynthetic bacteria, which get their energy from sunlight, could be used in microbial fuel cells.

In the new study, the EPFL team gave these bacteria a boost by inserting carbon nanotubes – tiny rolled-up sheets of graphene, a material that’s famously conductive. The nanotube-loaded bugs were able to produce up to 15 times more electricity than their non-edited counterparts from the same amount of sunlight.

Sep 20, 2022

This Environmentally Friendly Quantum Sensor Runs On Sunlight

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, solar power, sustainability

Quantum tech is going green.

A new take on highly sensitive magnetic field sensors ditches the power-hungry lasers that previous devices have relied on to make their measurements and replaces them with sunlight. Lasers can gobble 100 watts or so of power — like keeping a bright lightbulb burning. The innovation potentially untethers quantum sensors from that energy need. The result is an environmentally friendly prototype on the forefront of technology, researchers report in an upcoming issue of Physical Review X Energy.

The big twist is in how the device uses sunlight. It doesn’t use solar cells to convert light into electricity. Instead, the sunlight does the job of the laser’s light, says Jiangfeng Du, a physicist at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei.

Sep 15, 2022

World’s first direct air electrolyzer makes hydrogen from humidity

Posted by in categories: chemistry, solar power, sustainability

Australian researchers have developed and tested a way to electrolyze hydrogen straight out of the air, anywhere on Earth, without requiring any other fresh water source. The Direct Air Electrolyzer (DAE) absorbs and converts atmospheric moisture – even down to a “bone-dry” 4% humidity.

Such a machine could be particularly relevant to a country like Australia, which has ambitions as a clean energy exporter, along with enormous solar energy potential – but also widespread drought conditions and limited access to clean water. Decoupling hydrogen production from the need for a water supply could allow green hydrogen to be produced more or less anywhere you can ship it out from – and since water scarcity and solar potential often go hand in hand, this could prove a boon for much of Africa, Asia, India and the Middle East, too.

Chemical engineers at Melbourne University came up with what they describe as a simple design: an electrolyzer with two flat plates acting as anode and cathode. Sandwiched between the two plates is a porous material – melamine sponge, for example, or sintered glass foam. This medium is soaked in a hygroscopic ionic solution – a chemical that can absorb moisture from the air spontaneously.

Sep 13, 2022

This ‘solar tree’ may be the EV charging station of the future

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability, transportation

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