Archive for the ‘solar power’ category: Page 8

Jun 8, 2020

Transparent graphene electrodes might lead to new generation of solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

A new way of making large sheets of high-quality, atomically thin graphene could lead to ultra-lightweight, flexible solar cells, and to new classes of light-emitting devices and other thin-film electronics.

Jun 8, 2020

Scientists Create Prototype That Generates Electricity From Shadows

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

It sounds like something from a sci-fi movie, but the newly revealed Shadow-Effect Energy Generator (SEG) is a real prototype device. The fascinating concept could help us to transform the way renewable energy is generated indoors.

The SEG uses the contrast between darkness and light to produce electricity. It’s made up of a series of thin strips of gold film on a silicon wafer, placed on top of a flexible plastic base.

Whereas shadows are usually a problem for renewable solar energy production, here they’re actually harnessed to keep on generating power. The technology — which is cheaper to produce than a typical solar cell, according to its developers — produces small amounts of power and could be used in mobile gadgets, for example.

Jun 5, 2020

Discovery unlocks ‘hot’ electrons for more efficient energy use

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Highly energetic, “hot” electrons have the potential to help solar panels more efficiently harvest light energy.

But scientists haven’t been able to measure the energies of those electrons, limiting their use. Researchers at Purdue University and the University of Michigan built a way to analyze those energies.

“There have been many theoretical models of hot electrons but no direct experiments or measurements of what they look like,” said Vladimir “Vlad” Shalaev (shal-AYV), Purdue University’s Bob and Anne Burnett Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who led the Purdue team in this collaborative work.

Jun 3, 2020

Double-sided solar panels that follow the sun prove most cost effective

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Solar power systems with double-sided (bifacial) solar panels—which collect sunlight from two sides instead of one—and single-axis tracking technology that tilts the panels so they can follow the sun are the most cost effective to date, researchers report June 3rd in the journal Joule. They determined that this combination of technologies produces almost 35% more energy, on average, than immobile single-panel photovoltaic systems, while reducing the cost of electricity by an average of 16%.

“The results are stable, even when accounting for changes in the and in the costs from the and the other components of the photovoltaic system, over a fairly wide range,” says first author Carlos Rodríguez-Gallegos, a research fellow at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore, sponsored by the National University of Singapore. “This means that investing in bifacial and tracking systems should be a safe bet for the foreseeable future.”

Research efforts tend to focus on further boosting output from by improving solar cell efficiency, but the energy yield per panel can also be increased in other ways. Double-sided solar panels, for example, produce more energy per unit area than their standard counterparts and can function in similar locations, including rooftops. This style of solar panel, as well as tracking technology that allows each panel to capture more light by tilting in line with the sun throughout the day, could significantly improve the energy yield of solar cells even without further advancements in the capabilities of the cells themselves. However, the combined contributions of these recent technologies have not been fully explored.

Jun 3, 2020

Precision spray coating could enable solar cells with better performance and stability

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Although perovskites are a promising alternative to the silicon used to make most of today’s solar cells, new manufacturing processes are needed to make them practical for commercial production. To help fill this gap, researchers have developed a new precision spray-coating method that enables more complex perovskite solar cell designs and could be scaled up for mass production.

Perovskites are promising for next-generation because they absorb light and convert it to energy with better efficiency and potentially lower production costs than silicon. Perovskites can even be sprayed onto glass to create energy-producing windows.

“Our work demonstrates a process to deposit by layer with controllable thicknesses and rates of deposition for each layer,” said research team leader Pongsakorn Kanjanaboos from the School of Materials Science and Innovation, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University in Thailand. “This new method enables stacked designs for solar with better performance and stability.”

Jun 2, 2020

This device could provide cheap electricity to billions living in the dark

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The thermoelectric generator harnesses the flow of heat between two surfaces — one exposed to the cold sky at night. It could be the nocturnal cousin of solar power, lighting the lives of the 1.7 billion people worldwide living with an unreliable electricity connection.

May 31, 2020

Self-driving laboratory for accelerated discovery of thin-film materials

Posted by in categories: information science, robotics/AI, solar power, sustainability

Discovering and optimizing commercially viable materials for clean energy applications typically takes more than a decade. Self-driving laboratories that iteratively design, execute, and learn from materials science experiments in a fully autonomous loop present an opportunity to accelerate this research process. We report here a modular robotic platform driven by a model-based optimization algorithm capable of autonomously optimizing the optical and electronic properties of thin-film materials by modifying the film composition and processing conditions. We demonstrate the power of this platform by using it to maximize the hole mobility of organic hole transport materials commonly used in perovskite solar cells and consumer electronics. This demonstration highlights the possibilities of using autonomous laboratories to discover organic and inorganic materials relevant to materials sciences and clean energy technologies.

Optimizing the properties of thin films is time intensive because of the large number of compositional, deposition, and processing parameters available (1, 2). These parameters are often correlated and can have a profound effect on the structure and physical properties of the film and any adjacent layers present in a device. There exist few computational tools for predicting the properties of materials with compositional and structural disorder, and thus, the materials discovery process still relies heavily on empirical data. High-throughput experimentation (HTE) is an established method for sampling a large parameter space (4, 5), but it is still nearly impossible to sample the full set of combinatorial parameters available for thin films. Parallelized methodologies are also constrained by the experimental techniques that can be used effectively in practice.

May 30, 2020

Flying Around the World in a Solar Powered Plane

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability, transportation

The journey took a very long time—505 days to fly 26,000 miles (42,000 km) at an average speed of about 45 mph (70 kph)—but pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg successfully landed the Solar Impulse 2 aircraft in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, after flying around the world using only the power of the Sun. Solar Impulse 2 is a solar-powered aircraft equipped with more than 17,000 solar cells that weighs only 2.4 tons with a wingspan of 235 ft (72 m). Technical challenges, poor flying conditions, and a delicate aircraft all contributed to the slow pace. Gathered here are images from the record-setting circumnavigation, undertaken to help focus the world’s efforts to develop renewable energy sources.

May 29, 2020

Algorithm tracks down buried treasure among existing compounds

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, information science, robotics/AI, solar power

A machine-learning algorithm has been developed by scientists in Japan to breathe new life into old molecules. Called BoundLess Objective-free eXploration, or Blox, it allows researchers to search chemical databases for molecules with the right properties to see them repurposed. The team demonstrated the power of their technique by finding molecules that could work in solar cells from a database designed for drug discovery.

Chemical repurposing involves taking a molecule or material and finding an entirely new use for it. Suitable molecules for chemical repurposing tend to stand apart from the larger group when considering one property against another. These materials are said to be out-of-trend and can display previously undiscovered yet exceptional characteristics.

‘In public databases there are a lot of molecules, but each molecule’s properties are mostly unknown. These molecules have been synthesised for a particular purpose, for example drug development, so unrelated properties were not measured,’ explains Koji Tsuda of the Riken Centre for Advanced Intelligence and who led the development of Blox. ‘There are a lot of hidden treasures in databases.’

Continue reading “Algorithm tracks down buried treasure among existing compounds” »

May 28, 2020

No Joke — Algeria Plans 4 Gigawatt, 5 Year Solar Power Initiative

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Make no small plans. That seems to be the logic among the leaders of Algeria.

For some perspective, I just wrote about the corporate behemoth Amazon, which hopes to get to 100% renewable electricity by 2025 (firm target of 2030) and has a whopping total of 31 utility-scale wind and solar power plants built or planned that add up to 2,900 MW of total power capacity. That’s 2.3 gigawatts (GW). Algeria is talking about building 4 gigawatts of solar power capacity in 5 years. That’s a pretty stunning target.

Continue reading “No Joke — Algeria Plans 4 Gigawatt, 5 Year Solar Power Initiative” »

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