That they have the potential to produce cheaper electricity than coal-fired generators can
SUNLIGHT is free, but that is no reason to waste it. Yet even the best silicon solar cells—by far the most common sort—convert only a quarter of the light that falls on them. Silicon has the merit of being cheap: manufacturing improvements have brought its price to a point where it is snapping at the heels of fossil fuels. But many scientists would like to replace it with something fundamentally better.
John Rogers, of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is one. The cells he has devised (and which are being made, packaged into panels and deployed in pilot projects by Semprius, a firm based in North Carolina) are indeed better. By themselves, he told this year’s meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, they convert 42.5% of sunlight. Even when surrounded by the paraphernalia of a panel they manage 35%. Suitably tweaked, Dr Rogers reckons, their efficiency could rise to 50%. Their secret is that they are actually not one cell, but four, stacked one on top of another.
Solar cells are made of semiconductors, and every type of semiconductor has a property called a band gap that is different from that of other semiconductors. The band gap defines the longest wavelength of light a semiconductor can absorb (it is transparent to longer wavelengths). It also fixes the maximum amount of energy that can be captured from photons of shorter wavelength. The result is that long-wavelength photons are lost and short-wave ones incompletely utilised.
Dr Rogers gets round this by using a different material for each layer of the stack. He chooses his materials so that the bottom of the band gap of the top layer matches the top of the band gap of the one underneath, and so on down the stack. Each layer thus chops off part of the spectrum, converts it efficiently into electrical energy and passes the rest on.
The Latest on: Efficiency of solar cells
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Efficiency of solar cells” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Efficiency of solar cells
- Italy's Udinese to fit solar panels on stadium roofon February 21, 2024 at 7:35 am
Italian Serie A soccer team Udinese Calcio have teamed up with local utility Bluenergy Group to cover the roof of the club's stadium with solar panels, in a move they hope will increase support for ...
- Advanced Computer Simulations Produce a Novel Solar Cellon February 21, 2024 at 7:15 am
Researchers at Paderborn University have created a novel design for solar cells that are substantially more efficient than those that were previously on the market by using intricate computer ...
- Textured Solar Cells Could Capture 66% More Sunlighton February 21, 2024 at 5:16 am
A theoretical study out of Turkey shows that braille-like bumps would allow light to enter the cell from a wider range of directions.
- Best Solar Company 2024: Top-Rated Contractors & Companieson February 21, 2024 at 4:00 am
Plus, they offer power stations that can charge using solar panels, wall outlets, or a combination of both, allowing for efficient charging and extended battery life. DaranEner stands out in the realm ...
- Triple-junction perovskite–perovskite–silicon solar cell achieves record-breaking efficiency of 24.4%on February 21, 2024 at 1:21 am
Developed by scientists in Germany, the triple-junction cell is based on a perovskite top cell with an energy bandgap of 1.84 eV, a perovskite middle cell with bandgap of 1.52 eV, and a silicon bottom ...
- Paderborn's new solar cell design with Tetracene boosts efficiencyon February 20, 2024 at 11:18 pm
Researchers from Paderborn University have developed a new design for solar cells that can harness more energy from sunlight than ever before. The key to their innovation is a thin layer of organic ...
- Physicists develop new solar cell design for better efficiencyon February 20, 2024 at 1:56 pm
Physicists at Paderborn University have used complex computer simulations to develop a new design for significantly more efficient solar cells than previously available. A thin layer of organic ...
- Bumpy solar cells could harvest up to 66% more energyon February 18, 2024 at 8:47 pm
Solar cell efficiency may get a bump from bumps. New research suggests that building tiny domes into the surface of organic solar cells could boost their efficiency by up to two-thirds, while ...
- This new flexible organic solar cell can draw more power from the sunon February 17, 2024 at 12:35 pm
A breakthrough in renewable energy, Abdullah Gül University's hemispherical-shaped organic solar cells promise enhanced efficiency and flexibility.
- How Much Do Solar Panels Cost In 2024?on February 15, 2024 at 11:22 am
Solar panels vary in durability, efficiency and size depending on the type you choose. Homes or projects with limited roof space typically require more efficient panels. Learn more below about the ...
via Bing News