Solar Energy News

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Updated: 40 min 7 sec ago

Solar power: Finding safe and efficient home storage systems

Tue, 06/02/2015 - 6:55am
How do I find the right storage system for my application? This question is asked by many potential buyers. Battery storage systems available on the market differ considerably in terms of safety, price, performance, and, hence, economic efficiency. New research shows how efficient batteries should be designed and provide information on the reliable assessment of the performance of storage systems.

Fine-tuned molecular orientation is key to more efficient polymer solar cells

Mon, 05/25/2015 - 11:03am
Polymer solar cells are a hot area of research due to both their strong future potential and the significant challenges they pose. It is believed that thanks to lower production costs, they could become a viable alternative to conventional solar cells with silicon substrates when they achieve a power conversion efficiency--a measure that indicates how much electricity they can generate from a given amount of sunlight--of between 10 and 15 percent. Now, using carefully designed materials and an "inverted" architecture, a team of scientists has achieved efficiency of 10 percent, bringing these cells close to the threshold of commercial viability. 

American energy use up slightly, carbon emissions almost unchanged

Wed, 05/20/2015 - 11:28am
Americans' energy use continued to grow slowly in 2014, fueled by increases in the use of natural gas, wind and solar, according to the most recent energy flow charts.

Nanobionics supercharge photosynthesis

Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:33am
A new process has been developed for spontaneously incorporating and assembling carbon nanotubes and oxygen-scavenging nanoparticles into chloroplasts, the part of plant cells that conduct photosynthesis. Incorporation enhanced electron flow associated with photosynthesis. When these nanocomposites were incorporated into leaf chloroplasts of living plants, the electron flow associated with photosynthesis was enhanced by 30%.

Efficiency record for black silicon solar cells jumps to 22.1%

Mon, 05/18/2015 - 11:14am
Researchers have obtained the record-breaking efficiency of 22.1 percent efficiency on nanostructured silicon solar cells. An almost 4 percent absolute increase to their previous record was achieved by applying a thin passivating film on the nanostructures and by integrating all metal contacts on the back side of the cell.

Artificial photosynthesis: New, stable photocathode with great potential

Tue, 05/12/2015 - 2:00pm
Scientists have developed a new composite photocathode for generating hydrogen using sunlight. The photocathode consists of a thin film of chalcopyrite coated with a newly developed thin film of titanium dioxide containing platinum nanoparticles. This layer protects the chalcopyrite thin film from corrosion, it acts as a catalyst to speed-up formation of hydrogen even shows photoelectric current density and voltage comparable to those of a chalcopyrite-based thin film solar cell.

Superhydrophobic glass coating offers clear benefits

Mon, 05/11/2015 - 4:25pm
A moth's eye and lotus leaf were the inspirations for an antireflective water-repelling, or superhydrophobic, glass coating that holds significant potential for solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows, weapons systems and many other products.

Inkjet printing process for kesterite solar cells

Wed, 05/06/2015 - 10:15am
A research team has developed an inkjet printing technology to produce kesterite thin film absorbers. Based on the inkjet-printed absorbers, solar cells with total area conversion efficiency of up to 6.4 percent have been achieved. Although this is lower than the efficiency records for this material class, the inkjet printing minimizes waste and has huge advantages for industrial production.

First field-effect transistors on hybrid perovskites fabricated for first time

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 9:24am
Researchers have fabricated halide organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite field-effect transistors and measure their electrical characteristics at room temperature for the first time. Hybrid perovskites are a family of crystalline materials that hold great promise in the clean energy world.

Better battery for storing solar energy?

Tue, 05/05/2015 - 8:19am
The sun is a huge source of energy. In just one hour planet Earth is hit by so much sunshine that humankind could cover its energy needs for an entire year if only we knew how to harvest and save it. But storing sunshine is not trivial. Now a student has researched his way to a breakthrough which may prove pivotal for technologies trying to capture the energy of the sun, and saving it for a rainy day.

Engineering a better solar cell: Defects in popular perovskites pinpointed

Thu, 04/30/2015 - 2:50pm
A new study demonstrates that perovskite materials - superefficient crystal structures that have recently taken the scientific community by storm - contain flaws that can be engineered to improve solar cells and other devices even further.

Artificial photosynthesis could help make fuels, plastics and medicine

Wed, 04/29/2015 - 9:48am
The global industrial sector accounts for more than half of the total energy used every year. Now scientists are inventing a new artificial photosynthetic system that could one day reduce industry's dependence on fossil fuel-derived energy by powering part of the sector with solar energy and bacteria. The system converts light and carbon dioxide into building blocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and fuels -- all without electricity.

Electrical power converter allows grid to easily accept power from renewable energy

Mon, 04/27/2015 - 9:13am
Engineering researchers have invented a novel electrical power converter system that simultaneously accepts power from a variety of energy sources and converts it for use in the electrical grid system.

A video camera that powers itself

Wed, 04/15/2015 - 9:29am
Scientists have invented a prototype video camera that is the first to be fully self-powered -- it can produce an image each second, indefinitely, of a well-lit indoor scene. They designed a pixel that can not only measure incident light but also convert the incident light into electric power.

Harvesting energy from electromagnetic waves

Tue, 04/14/2015 - 11:58am
Researchers have developed a novel design for electromagnetic energy harvesting based on the "full absorption concept." This involves the use of metamaterials that can be tailored to produce media that neither reflects nor transmits any power -- enabling full absorption of incident waves at a specific range of frequencies and polarizations.