Solar Energy News

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Updated: 21 min 12 sec ago

Charging a lithium-ion battery efficiently with a solar cell

Thu, 08/27/2015 - 10:16am
Researchers have wired four perovskite solar cells in series to enhance the voltage and directly photo-charged lithium batteries with 7.8 percent efficiency -- the most efficient reported to date, the researchers believe.

Another milestone in hybrid artificial photosynthesis

Mon, 08/24/2015 - 8:22pm
Researchers using a bioinorganic hybrid approach to artificial photosynthesis have combined semiconducting nanowires with select microbes to create a system that produces renewable molecular hydrogen and uses it to synthesize carbon dioxide into methane, the primary constituent of natural gas.

Using sunlight to recharge the cooling system of trailer containers

Thu, 08/20/2015 - 12:01pm
A group of scientists has replaced diesel with kinetic energy, saving up to 20 thousand liters of fuel annually, they say, adding that this includes a series of energetically self-sustained boxes for the transport of perishable goods, with a cooling system that replaced the use of diesel with sunlight and kinetic energy.

'Diamonds from the sky' approach turns CO2 into valuable products

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 7:31am
Finding a technology to shift carbon dioxide, the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, from a climate change problem to a valuable commodity has long been a dream. Now, a team of chemists says they have developed a technology to economically convert atmospheric CO2 directly into highly valued carbon nanofibers for industrial and consumer products.

Challenge to classic theory of 'organic' solar cells could improve efficiency

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 9:29am
New research findings contradict a fundamental assumption about the functioning of 'organic' solar cells made of low-cost plastics, suggesting a new strategy for creating inexpensive solar technology.

Solar cell efficiency could double with novel 'green' antenna

Tue, 08/18/2015 - 7:57am
The use of solar energy in the US is growing, but panels on rooftops are still a rare sight. They cost thousands of dollars, and homeowners don't recoup costs for years. But scientists may have a solution. Researchers report the development of a unique, 'green' antenna that could potentially double efficiencies of certain solar cells and make them more affordable. These antennas are made with biological and non-toxic materials that are edible in theory, one researcher said.

Charge transport in hybrid silicon solar cells

Mon, 08/17/2015 - 10:06am
A surprising discovery has been made about hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells. Contrary to expectations, a diode composed of the conductive organic PEDOT:PSS and an n-type silicon absorber material behaves more like a pn junction between two semiconductors than like a metal-semiconductor contact (Schottky diode).

Microscopic rake doubles efficiency of low-cost solar cells

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 1:16pm
Researchers have developed a manufacturing technique that could double the electricity output of inexpensive solar cells by using a microscopic rake when applying light-harvesting polymers.

Chemists find new way to do light-driven reactions in solar energy quest

Thu, 08/06/2015 - 1:44pm
Chemists have discovered an unexpected way to use plasmonic metal, harvesting the high energy electrons excited by light in plasmon and then using this energy to do chemistry. Plasmon is a collective motion of free electrons in a metal that strongly absorbs and scatters light.

Heating with the sun: Solar active houses put to the test

Tue, 08/04/2015 - 6:39am
Solar-Active-Houses heat themselves using heat collectors and water tanks. However, no one had conducted an objective assessment of how efficiently they do so. Now researchers have put some of these solar houses to the test, and have identified where there was room for improvement and laid the scientific groundwork for this housing concept.

New design brings world's first solar battery to performance milestone

Sat, 08/01/2015 - 7:26am
After debuting the world's first solar air battery last fall, researchers have now reached a new milestone. They report that their patent-pending design -- which combines a solar cell and a battery into a single device -- now achieves a 20 percent energy savings over traditional lithium-iodine batteries.

Butterflies heat up the field of solar research

Fri, 07/31/2015 - 6:02am
The humble butterfly could hold the key to unlocking new techniques to make solar energy cheaper and more efficient, pioneering new research has shown. By mimicking the v-shaped posture adopted by Cabbage White butterflies to heat up their flight muscles before take-off, the amount of power produced by solar panels can increase by almost 50 per cent, scientists say.

Lobster-eye imager detects soft X-ray emissions

Tue, 07/28/2015 - 10:07am
A group of scientists have described developing and launching their imager, which centers on "Lobster-Eye optics," as well as its capabilities and future applications in space exploration.

Reshaping the solar spectrum to turn light into electricity

Mon, 07/27/2015 - 5:02pm
Solar energy could be made cheaper if solar cells could be coaxed to generate more power. A huge gain in this direction has been made by a team of chemists that has found an ingenious way to make solar energy conversion more efficient. The researchers combined inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic molecules to 'upconvert' photons in the visible and near-infrared regions of the solar spectrum.

Changing the Color of Light

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 5:15pm
Researchers have developed a method that could improve medical imaging and cancer treatments and increase the efficiency of commercial solar cells by 25 to 30 percent.

New finding could lead to cheap, efficient metal-based solar cells

Thu, 07/23/2015 - 9:10am
Although the domestic solar-energy industry grew by 34 percent in 2014, fundamental technical breakthroughs are needed if the U.S. is to meet its national goal of reducing the cost of solar electricity to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. New research could make it easier for engineers to harness the power of light-capturing nanomaterials to boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of photovoltaic solar cells.

Smart building monitoring to respond to all climate conditions

Wed, 07/22/2015 - 7:11am
A grid of sensors embedded into an innovative building insulation activates specific façade components to optimise energy savings while improving aesthetics.

Perovskite solar technology shows quick energy returns

Mon, 07/20/2015 - 12:33pm
In the solar power research community, a new class of materials called perovskites is causing quite a buzz, as scientists search for technology that has a better 'energy payback time' than the silicon-based solar panels currently dominating the market. Now, a new study reports that perovskite modules are better than any commercially available solar technology when products are compared on the basis of energy payback time.

Nanowires give 'solar fuel cell' efficiency a tenfold boost

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 9:49am
Researchers have developed a very promising prototype of a new solar celll. The material gallium phosphide enables their solar cell to produce the clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. Processing the gallium phosphide in the form of very small nanowires is novel and helps to boost the yield by a factor of ten. And does so using ten thousand times less precious material.

Unique material created for the next generation solar cells

Fri, 07/17/2015 - 8:21am
Researchers have developed material which offers much cheaper alternative to the one which is currently being used in hybrid solar cells. The efficiency of the semi-conductors created by the team of chemists has been confirmed.