Menu

Blog

Archive for the ‘solar power’ category: Page 6

Jul 13, 2020

Solar Flow Battery: Single Device Generates, Stores and Redelivers Renewable Electricity From the Sun

Posted by in categories: chemistry, solar power, sustainability

Chemists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and their collaborators have created a highly efficient and long-lasting solar flow battery, a way to generate, store and redeliver renewable electricity from the sun in one device.

The new device is made of silicon solar cells combined with advanced solar materials integrated with optimally designed chemical components. The solar flow battery, made by the Song Jin lab in the UW-Madison chemistry department, achieved a new record efficiency of 20 percent. That bests most commercially available silicon solar cells used today and is 40 percent more efficient than the previous record holder for solar flow batteries, also developed by the Jin lab.

Jul 10, 2020

Photo-rechargeable zinc-ion devices merge solar cell and battery tech

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Scientists have made a battery that can be directly charged in sunlight without needing an external solar panel. Clever design of the battery electrodes facilitates photo-rechargeable zinc-ion batteries that could find applications as cheap devices for off-grid solar farms.

Solar energy is often stored in rechargeable batteries for later use. Currently, this process requires separate solar cells to harvest the energy, and batteries to store it. Now, a team led by Michael De Volder from the University of Cambridge in the UK has engineered a battery cathode that can take the place of the solar cell and recharge the battery without requring an external energy harvester.

An image showing the energy levels of P3HT and graphene oxide

Continue reading “Photo-rechargeable zinc-ion devices merge solar cell and battery tech” »

Jul 9, 2020

Spider silk made by photosynthetic bacteria

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

Spiders produce amazingly strong and lightweight threads called draglines that are made from silk proteins. Although they can be used to manufacture a number of useful materials, getting enough of the protein is difficult because only a small amount can be produced by each tiny spider. In a new study published in Communications Biology, a research team led by Keiji Numata at the RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (CSRS) reported that they succeeded in producing the spider silk using photosynthetic bacteria. This study could open a new era in which photosynthetic bio-factories stably output the bulk of spider silk.

In addition to being tough and lightweight, silks derived from arthropod species are biodegradable and biocompatible. In particular, spider silk is ultra-lightweight and is as tough as steel. “Spider silk has the potential to be used in the manufacture of high-performance and durable materials such as tear-resistant clothing, automobile parts, and aerospace components,” explains Choon Pin Foong, who conducted this study. “Its biocompatibility makes it safe for use in biomedical applications such as drug delivery systems, implant devices, and scaffolds for tissue engineering.” Because only a trace amount can be obtained from one spider, and because breeding large numbers of spiders is difficult, attempts have been made to produce artificial spider silk in a variety of species.

The CSRS team focused on the marine photosynthetic bacterium Rhodovulum sulfidophilum. This bacterium is ideal for establishing a sustainable bio-factory because it grows in seawater, requires carbon dioxide and nitrogen in the atmosphere, and uses solar energy, all of which are abundant and inexhaustible.

Jul 9, 2020

Electrons in the fast lane: Microscopic structures could improve perovskite solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability, transportation

Solar cells based on perovskite compounds could soon make electricity generation from sunlight even more efficient and cheaper. The laboratory efficiency of these perovskite solar cells already exceeds that of the well-known silicon solar cells. An international team led by Stefan Weber from the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz has found microscopic structures in perovskite crystals that can guide the charge transport in the solar cell. Clever alignment of these electron highways could make perovskite solar cells even more powerful.

When convert sunlight into electricity, the electrons of the material inside the cell absorb the energy of the light. Traditionally, this light-absorbing material is silicon, but perovskites could prove to be a cheaper alternative. The electrons excited by the sunlight are collected by special contacts on the top and bottom of the cell. However, if the electrons remain in the material for too long, they can lose their energy again. To minimize losses, they should therefore reach the contacts as quickly as possible.

Microscopically small structures in the perovskites—so-called ferroelastic twin domains—could be helpful in this respect: They can influence how fast the electrons move. An international research group led by Stefan Weber at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz discovered this phenomenon. The stripe-shaped structures that the scientists investigated form spontaneously during the fabrication of the by mechanical stress in the material. By combining two microscopy methods, the researchers were able to show that electrons move much faster parallel to the stripes than perpendicular to them. “The domains act as tiny highways for electrons,” compares Stefan Weber.

Jul 3, 2020

Surrounded by trees and with 1,200 solar panels, this Norwegian building could change how we think about factories

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The buildings that produce the goods we use every single day are changing.

Jul 2, 2020

How Transparent Graphene Electrodes Could Aid Solar Cell Generation

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

A new technique of manufacturing graphene could revolutionize solar power by enabling the creation of ultra-lightweight, flexible solar panels.

A novel technique developed by researchers at the Michigan Institute of Technology (MIT) that allows for the creation of large sheets of graphene — a layer of single carbon atoms extracted from graphite — could have a significant impact on the development of future electronic devices.

In particular, the development could give a significant boost to the field of solar power where graphene is used as a replacement for indium tin oxide (ITO) in the creation of electrodes. The resultant transparent and light electrodes can bend up to 78 ⁰ — much more flexible than traditional ITO electrodes.

Jul 2, 2020

Crystal structure discovered almost 200 years ago could hold key to solar cell revolution

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Solar energy researchers at Oregon State University are shining their scientific spotlight on materials with a crystal structure discovered nearly two centuries ago.

Not all materials with the structure, known as perovskites, are semiconductors. But perovskites based on a metal and a halogen are, and they hold tremendous potential as that could be much less expensive to make than the silicon-based that have owned the market since its inception in the 1950s.

Enough potential, researchers say, to perhaps someday carve significantly into fossil fuels’ share of the energy sector.

Jun 30, 2020

Illinois Community Solar Lands Northwestern University As New Customer

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Clean Tech News & Views: Solar Energy News. Wind Energy News. EV News. & More.

Jun 29, 2020

Awesome Idea: Turn Rikers Island Into A Solar Farm

Posted by in categories: law enforcement, solar power, sustainability

Kate Aronoff wrote about a great idea recently: turn Rikers Island into a solar farm. Transforming a prison that was built on heaps of trash into a solar farm does have many benefits.

Her article dives into the past as well as the present of Rikers Island and she points out that both share the story of the United States itself. The island’s ownership has roots traced to slaveowners since the 1660s and played a huge role in the kidnapping ring that sold black people in the North back to slavery in the South under the Fugitive Slave Act. The island was sold in 1884 and it became a penal colony. The island was redesigned into a massive jail complex.

Today, 80% of the island’s landmass is landfill. Aronoff, with her words, painted a picture of an island that is filled with decomposing garbage and prisoners — with 90% of them being people of color. “Heat in the summer can be unbearable, which has lent to its ominous nickname: The Oven,” she wrote. She referenced another account from Raven Rakia who spoke about the island’s “environmental justice horror show.” Rakia noted that 6 of the island’s 10 facilities don’t have any air conditioning.

Jun 27, 2020

NASA Funds Harvard Hunt for Alien “Technological Civilizations”

Posted by in categories: alien life, satellites, solar power, sustainability

A team of astronomers from Harvard and other institutions are collaborating on a new project to scan the skies for technological signatures from alien civilizations.

It’s a noteworthy new project, as it’s the first to receive a NASA grant for SETI-specific research in more than 30 years, according to a statement.

“Technosignatures relate to signatures of advanced alien technologies similar to, or perhaps more sophisticated than, what we possess,” said Avi Loeb, the chair of the Harvard astronomy department Harvard, in a statement. “Such signatures might include industrial pollution of atmospheres, city lights, photovoltaic cells (solar panels), megastructures, or swarms of satellites.”

Page 6 of 62First345678910Last