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Archive for the ‘solar power’ category

Mar 21, 2017

The world’s most efficient and environment-friendly solar cells

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

In the future, solar cells can become twice as efficient by employing a few smart little nano-tricks.

Researchers are currently developing the environment-friendly of the future, which will capture twice as much as the cells of today. The trick is to combine two different types of solar cells in order to utilize a much greater portion of the sunlight.

“These are going to be the world’s most efficient and environment-friendly solar cells. There are currently solar cells that are certainly just as efficient, but they are both expensive and toxic. Furthermore, the materials in our solar cells are readily available in large quantities on Earth. That is an important point,” says Professor Bengt Svensson of the Department of Physics at the University of Oslo (UiO) and Centre for Materials Science and Nanotechnology (SMN).

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Mar 18, 2017

Trump Should Make Space-Based Solar Power A National Priority

Posted by in categories: solar power, space, sustainability

My take on why the Trump Administration should make space-based solar power a real priority.


Space-based solar power — technology that would harvest solar energy directly in space for use on Earth — is a concept whose time has come.

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Mar 15, 2017

These Two Tesla Vets Want to Build the Next ‘Gigafactory’ in Sweden — By Geoffrey Smith | Fortune

Posted by in categories: disruptive technology, Elon Musk, solar power

“Two Tesla Motors veterans want to build a European counterpart to Elon Musk’s “gigafactory”, in an effort to stake out a dominant position in the fast-evolving supply chain for makers of electric vehicles.”

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Mar 10, 2017

The boom is here: U.S. solar experiences record-smashing year — By Joe Romm | ThinkProgress

Posted by in categories: engineering, environmental, governance, policy, science, solar power

“The industry reports that, for the first time ever, solar was the number one source of new generating capacity, beating out wind and gas.”

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Mar 9, 2017

Tesla Completes Hawaii Storage Project That Sells Solar at Night — By Mark Chediak | Bloomberg

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, energy, solar power, sustainability, transportation

“Tesla Inc. has completed a solar project in Hawaii that incorporates batteries to sell power in the evening, part of a push by the electric car maker to provide more green power to the grid.”

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Mar 3, 2017

Researchers remotely control sequence in which 2-D sheets fold into 3D structures

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biotech/medical, nanotechnology, satellites, solar power, sustainability

Inspired by origami, North Carolina State University researchers have found a way to remotely control the order in which a two-dimensional (2-D) sheet folds itself into a three-dimensional (3D) structure.

“A longstanding challenge in the field has been finding a way to control the sequence in which a 2-D sheet will fold itself into a 3D object,” says Michael Dickey, a professor of chemical and at NC State and co-corresponding author of a paper describing the work. “And as anyone who has done origami — or folded their laundry—can tell you, the order in which you make the folds can be extremely important.”

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Feb 26, 2017

MIT spinout Sistine Solar can print any image on photovoltaic cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Nice.


MIT researchers have done even better. MIT has spunout a company called Sistine Solar that has developed a technology to print any kind of image on a skin that can be applied on solar panels, which change the appearance of the photovoltaic cells from all angles, without compromising on their capacity to generate electricity. Founded by the Sloan School of Management at MIT, Sistine Solar hopes to increase the adoption of clean energy with solar panels that mimic the surroundings or environment.

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Feb 26, 2017

Dream of energy-collecting windows is one step closer to reality

Posted by in categories: nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Researchers at the University of Minnesota and University of Milano-Bicocca are bringing the dream of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy one step closer to reality thanks to high tech silicon nanoparticles.

The researchers developed technology to embed the nanoparticles into what they call efficient (LSCs). These LSCs are the key element of windows that can efficiently collect solar energy. When light shines through the surface, the useful frequencies of light are trapped inside and concentrated to the edges where small solar cells can be put in place to capture the energy.

The research is published today in Nature Photonics.

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Feb 25, 2017

Mechanical engineers leading effort to detect defects that reduce efficiency

Posted by in categories: climatology, economics, government, solar power, sustainability

Gets too advanced for me, but still interesting.


As the world transitions to a low-carbon energy future, near-term, large-scale deployment of solar power will be critical to mitigating climate change by midcentury. Climate scientists estimate that the world will need 10 terawatts (TW) or more of solar power by 2030—at least 50 times the level deployed today. At the MIT Photovoltaics Research Laboratory (PVLab), teams are working both to define what’s needed to get there and to help make it happen. “Our job is to figure out how to reach a minimum of 10 TW in an economically and environmentally sustainable way through technology innovation,” says Tonio Buonassisi, associate professor of mechanical engineering and lab director.

Their analyses outline a daunting challenge. First they calculated the growth rate of solar required to achieve 10 TW by 2030 and the minimum sustainable price that would elicit that growth without help from subsidies. Current technology is clearly not up to the task. “It would take between $1 trillion and $4 trillion of additional debt to just push current technology into the marketplace to do the job, and that’d be hard,” says Buonassisi. So what needs to change?

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Feb 22, 2017

Solar photovoltaic windows rely on inexpensive silicon quantum dots

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

Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs), which are flat panes of mostly transparent material that take sunlight (both diffuse and directed) and concentrate it at the panes’ edges, can be used as “photovoltaic windows,” which, as the name makes clear, collect solar energy while serving as ordinary windows. Now, researchers at the Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca and Glass to Power Srl (both of Milano, Italy) and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis, MN) are lowering the potential cost of such windows by using silicon nanoparticles as the fluorescent absorber/emitter in the LSC windows.

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