Tag Archives: Solar cell

Tiny “step edges” are a big step for surface science

R&D – It can be found in toothpaste, solar cells, and it is useful for chemical catalysts: titanium dioxide (TiO2) is an extremely versatile material. Although it is used for so many different applications, the behaviour of titanium oxide surfaces still surprises.

The surface of titanium oxide is never completely flat. On a microscopic scale, there are tiny steps and edges, many of them with a height of only one atomic layer. At these edges, electrons can localize quite easily.

“We have observed that oxygen molecules can connect to the surface precisely at these locations,” says Ulrike Diebold at the Vienna Univ. of Technology. more> http://goo.gl/PWzvBy


Solar panels perform better when listening to music

By Simon Levy – The sound vibrations that make up music can make solar panels work harder, according to new research, and pop music performs better than classical.

Practical uses for this discovery could include solar powered air conditioning units, laptop computers or electronic components on buses, trains and other vehicles. more> http://tinyurl.com/ohwrh2t

New connection between stacked solar cells can handle energy of 70,000 suns

R&D – Stacked solar cells consist of several solar cells that are stacked on top of one another. Stacked cells are currently the most efficient cells on the market, converting up to 45% of the solar energy they absorb into electricity.

But to be effective, solar cell designers need to ensure the connecting junctions between these stacked cells do not absorb any of the solar energy and do not siphon off the voltage the cells produce—effectively wasting that energy as heat. more> http://tinyurl.com/q2x4d56

Best of Both Worlds: Solar Hydrogen Production Breakthrough

ScienceDaily – Using a simple solar cell and a photo anode made of a metal oxide, HZB and TU Delft scientists have successfully stored nearly five percent of solar energy chemically in the form of hydrogen.

“Basically, we combined the best of both worlds,” explains Prof. Dr. Roel van de Krol, head of the HZB Institute for Solar Fuels: “We start with a chemically stable, low cost metal oxide, add a really good but simple silicon-based thin film solar cell, and — voilà — we’ve just created a cost-effective, highly stable, and highly efficient solar fuel device.” more> http://tinyurl.com/lhhjad7

Scientists build the first all-carbon solar cell

R&D Magazine – Stanford University scientists have built the first solar cell made entirely of carbon, a promising alternative to the expensive materials used in photovoltaic devices today. The results are published in ACS Nano.

“Carbon has the potential to deliver high performance at a low cost,” says study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of a working solar cell that has all of the components made of carbon. This study builds on previous work done in our lab.” more> http://tinyurl.com/bwtmyyd

Solar Cells Help Windows Generate Electricity

By Ann R. Thryft – The polymer solar cells (PSCs), developed by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) absorb mostly infrared, not visible, light, making them almost 70 percent transparent to the human eye.

The cells are made from a photoactive plastic that converts infrared light into an electrical current, according to an article in ACS Nano that describes the research. Applications could include high-performance, visibly transparent photovoltaic (PV) devices, such as building-integrated PV and integrated PV chargers for portable electronics, said study leader Yang Yang, UCLA professor of materials science and engineering, and director of the Nano Renewable Energy Center at California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI). more> http://tinyurl.com/crz993r

Are we wildly underestimating solar and wind power?

By Brad Plumer – Right now, renewable energy sources like solar and wind still provide just a small fraction of the world’s electricity. But they’re growing fast. Very fast. Three new pieces of evidence suggest that many policymakers may be drastically underestimating just how quickly wind and solar are expanding.

  • Solar is growing exponentially
  • Official agencies keep underestimating the growth rate of renewables
  • Using only current technology, renewables could technically provide the vast bulk of U.S. electricity by mid-century

And that’s where a new report from the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory comes in.

NREL even provides a nifty animated map of where different power plants–from hydropower to photovoltaic solar panels to wind turbines to concentrated solar plants — would need to be built to make this a reality. more> http://tinyurl.com/cglov9t