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Feb 28, 2024

Study unlocks nanoscale secrets for designing next-generation solar cells

Posted by in categories: engineering, life extension, nanotechnology, solar power, sustainability

Perovskites, a broad class of compounds with a particular kind of crystal structure, have long been seen as a promising alternative or supplement to today’s silicon or cadmium telluride solar panels. They could be far more lightweight and inexpensive, and could be coated onto virtually any substrate, including paper or flexible plastic that could be rolled up for easy transport.

In their efficiency at converting sunlight to electricity, perovskites are becoming comparable to silicon, whose manufacture still requires long, complex, and energy-intensive processes. One big remaining drawback is longevity: They tend to break down in a matter of months to years, while silicon can last more than two decades. And their efficiency over large module areas still lags behind silicon.

Now, a team of researchers at MIT and several other institutions has revealed ways to optimize efficiency and better control degradation, by engineering the nanoscale structure of perovskite devices.

Feb 27, 2024

Swedish scientists smash solar cell efficiency ‘world record’

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

CIGS solar cells can also be used a bottom layer in the tandem solar cell design helping reduce production costs.

Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have created a new world record by designing a CIGS solar cell with 23.64 percent energy conversion efficiency.

Feb 26, 2024

Researchers set new world record for CIGS solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Uppsala University is the new world record holder for electrical energy generation from copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells. The new world record is 23.64% efficiency. The measurement was made by an independent institute, and the results are published in Nature Energy.

The record results from a collaboration between the company First Solar European Technology Center (formerly known as Evolar) and solar cell researchers at Uppsala University.

“The measurements that we have made ourselves for this solar cell and other solar cells produced recently are within the margin of error for the independent measurement. That measurement will also be used for an internal calibration of our own measurement methods,” says Marika Edoff, Professor of Solar Cell Technology at Uppsala University, who is responsible for the study.

Feb 25, 2024

Physicists Develop New Significantly More Efficient Solar Cell

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

Physicists at Paderborn University have enhanced solar cell efficiency significantly using tetracene, an organic material, based on complex computer simulations. They discovered that defects at the tetracene-silicon interface boost energy transfer, promising a new solar cell design with drastically improved performance.

Physicists at Paderborn University have used complex computer simulations to create a novel solar cell design that boasts substantially higher efficiency than existing options. The enhancement in performance is attributed to a slender coating of an organic compound named tetracene. The results have recently been published in the renowned journal Physical Review Letters.

“The annual energy of solar radiation on Earth amounts to over one trillion kilowatt-hours and thus exceeds the global energy demand by more than 5,000 times. Photovoltaics, i.e. the generation of electricity from sunlight, therefore offers a large and still largely untapped potential for the supply of clean and renewable energy. Silicon solar cells used for this purpose currently dominate the market, but have efficiency limits,” explains Prof Dr Wolf Gero Schmidt, physicist and Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Paderborn University. One reason for this is that some of the energy from short-wave radiation is not converted into electricity, but into unwanted heat.

Feb 24, 2024

Harness Strain to Harvest Solar Energy

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability

The engineering of structural deformations in light-sensitive semiconductors can boost the efficiency of solar cells.

The quest for an efficient method to convert solar energy into electricity is crucial in the pursuit of carbon neutrality and environmental sustainability. Traditional solar cells are based on junctions between semiconductors, where a current is produced by photogenerated carriers separated by an electric field at the junction. Efforts to enhance solar-cell performance have focused on refining semiconductor properties and on perfecting devices. Concurrently, researchers are exploring alternative photovoltaic mechanisms that could work in synergy with the junction-based photovoltaic effect to boost solar-cell efficiency. Within this context, the engineering of a strain gradient in the material has emerged as a promising research direction. In this phenomenon, known as the flexophotovoltaic effect, an inhomogeneous strain in the material produces a photovoltaic effect in the absence of a junction [1].

Feb 24, 2024

Solar-Powered Toilet Treats and Recycles Wastewater

Posted by in categories: chemistry, mobile phones, solar power, sustainability

The Seva Sustainable Sanitation innovation is a smart, electro-chemical toilet unit, which is suitable for use in off-grid rural areas of developing countries. It can turn toilet wastewater into disinfected water, using the power from its mounted solar panels to sterilise and clarify it. Macronutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus can be nearly fully recovered from the waste, leaving nothing but water that is recycled for flushing or irrigation. The toilet unit is also equipped with sensors, a mobile phone-based maintenance guide, and smart grid technology that empowers anyone in the community to repair the system when necessary. When a toilet is out of order, the technology automatically directs users to other nearby sanitation systems. So far, the solution has been deployed in four countries.

Feb 19, 2024

Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

Sun Bear, an enormous solar and battery storage installation in the Four Corners region of Colorado, will have more than two million solar panels spread across 5,500 acres of land belonging to the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, part of the Weenuche Band of the Ute Nation. The primary developer is the Canigou Group, which styles itself as a global leader in renewable energy. “We are active throughout Europe, Australia and North America where we work with partners at the local level to provide a holistic solution,” it says on its website. The Sun Bear facility will cost up to $1.5 billion and produce peak power of 975 MW. There is no information currently available about the size of the battery storage system or who will supply the batteries for it.

There are several reasons why the site in southwest Colorado, which borders New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, was chosen for this large scale solar project. Carigou Group says “Sun Bear is well positioned for harnessing the sun with its large unobstructed sky, high annual solar irradiance, and low seasonal variability. The site is located close to a confluence of transmission systems which provide access to customers via both transmission and distribution interconnection.”

Continue reading “Sun Bear Solar Farm Will Be Eight Miles Long, One Mile Wide, And Have Two Million Solar Panels” »

Feb 19, 2024

Scientists design ‘sunflower’ city to boost solar energy in countries with relatively low levels of sunlight

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability

Inspired by the distribution of sunflower seeds, a group of scientists say they have developed a new city-pattern that ensures the best distribution of solar energy utilization “in low solar radiation countries.”

“Our new city-plan bears close resemblance to the distribution of seeds in sunflowers. This distribution ensures the best utilization of solar ,” says Dr. Ammar A. T. Alkhalidi, University of Sharjah’s Associate Professor of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering.

Dr. Alkhalidi is the lead author of a new study titled “Sunflower-inspired urban city pattern to improve solar energy utilization in low solar radiation countries.” The study is published in journal Renewable Energy Focus.

Feb 17, 2024

The quest for the world’s most powerful, ultrathin and bendable solar cell

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

The super thin solar cell material is flexible without sacrificing power conversion efficiency, researchers say.

Feb 16, 2024

Harnessing light with hemispherical shells for improved photovoltaics

Posted by in categories: computing, solar power, sustainability

In the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions, the quest for more efficient solar cells is paramount. Organic photovoltaic cells have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional silicon-based counterparts due to their flexibility and cost-effectiveness. However, optimizing their performance remains a significant challenge.

In a pioneering move, new research from Abdullah Gül University (Türkiye) reimagines the structure of organic photovoltaic cells, opting for a hemispherical shell shape to unlock unprecedented potential in and angular coverage.

As reported in the Journal of Photonics for Energy, this innovative configuration aims to maximize light absorption and angular coverage, promising to redefine the landscape of renewable energy technologies. The study presents advanced computational analysis and comparative benchmarks to spotlight the remarkable capabilities of this new design.

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