Get Prepared Now is NOT Just a Slogan

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Solar power goes viral: Researchers use virus to improve solar-cell efficiency

Researchers have found a way to make significant improvements to the power-conversion efficiency of solar cells by enlisting the services of tiny viruses to perform detailed assembly work at the microscopic level.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Testing smart energy systems

The residential housing sector needs smart energy systems. And yet the potential for developing these kinds of systems remains largely untapped. Researchers are able to analyze, assess and develop almost any energy management system for controlling power and heat at a new lab.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

First polymer solar-thermal device heats home, saves money

A new polymer-based solar-thermal device is the first to generate power from both heat and visible sunlight -- an advance that could shave the cost of heating a home by as much as 40 percent.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Collecting the sun's energy: Novel electrode for flexible thin-film solar cells

Conventional silicon-based rigid solar cells generally found on the market are not suitable for manufacturing moldable thin-film solar cells, in which a transparent, flexible and electrically conductive electrode collects the light and carries away the current. A new woven polymer electrode has now produced first results which are very promising, indicating that the new material may be a substitute for indium tin oxide coatings.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

New technology for cheaper, more efficient solar cells

Applying an organic layer less than a nanometer thick improves the efficiency of certain solar cells three-fold. The technology could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar panels.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hydrogen fuel tech gets boost from low-cost, efficient catalyst

Scientists have engineered a cheap, abundant alternative to the expensive platinum catalyst and coupled it with a light-absorbing electrode to make hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water. The discovery is an important development in the worldwide effort to mimic the way plants make fuel from sunlight, a key step in creating a green energy economy.

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Monday, June 20, 2011

New stretchable solar cells will power artificial electronic 'super skin'

"Super skin" is what one researcher wants to create. She's already developed a flexible sensor that is so sensitive to pressure it can feel a fly touch down. Now she's working to add the ability to detect chemicals and sense various kinds of biological molecules. She's also making the skin self-powering, using polymer solar cells to generate electricity. And the new solar cells are not just flexible, but stretchable -- they can be stretched up to 30 percent beyond their original length and snap back without any damage or loss of power.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Measurement of 'hot' electrons could have solar energy payoff; Nanoantennas hold promise for infrared photovoltaics

Basic scientific curiosity paid off in unexpected ways when researchers investigating the fundamental physics of nanomaterials discovered a new technology that could dramatically improve solar energy panels.

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Friday, June 17, 2011

Neutron analysis yields insight into bacteria for solar energy

Structural studies of some of nature's most efficient light-harvesting systems are lighting the way for new generations of biologically inspired solar cell devices.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mimicking photosynthesis path to solar-derived hydrogen fuel

Inexpensive hydrogen for automotive or jet fuel may be possible by mimicking photosynthesis, according to a materials chemist, but a number of problems need to be solved first.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Solar power without solar cells: A hidden magnetic effect of light could make it possible

A dramatic and surprising magnetic effect of light discovered by researchers could lead to solar power without traditional semiconductor-based solar cells. The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery." In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Low cost solar cells: New European record in efficiency

Scientists have developed an improved preparation process for kesterite solar cells, which resulted in a new European record efficiency of 6.1 percent.

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Chemist designs new polymer structures for use as 'plastic electronics'

A chemistry professor is designing new organic polymer structures that conduct electricity and could be useful in solar cells, light-emitting diodes and thin-film transistors. She and her research group are doing fundamental studies of the relationship between the polymer structures and their electronic, physical and optical properties.

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Thursday, June 9, 2011

New solar cell technology greatly boosts efficiency

With the creation of a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform, scientists have boosted the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80 percent.

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New technique enables much faster production of inexpensive solar cells

Researchers have demonstrated that the speed at which inexpensive solar cells are produced can be increased by a factor of 10 -- and that this can be achieved without any detriment to the energy yield of the cells. This will almost certainly result in a further reduction in the price of the cells, which are made of amorphous silicon.

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Ultrafast laser 'scribing' technique to cut cost, hike efficiency of solar cells

Researchers are developing a technology that aims to help make solar cells more affordable and efficient by using a new manufacturing method that employs an ultrafast pulsing laser.

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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Affordability of batteries key to harnessing wind and solar power

Researchers say future batteries used by the energy grid to store power from the wind and the sun must be reliable, durable and safe, but affordability is key to widespread market deployment of these technologies.

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Friday, June 3, 2011

Smaller particles could make solar panels more efficient

New research could significantly improve the efficiency of solar cells. The size of light-absorbing particles -- quantum dots -- affects the particles' ability to transfer energy to electrons to generate electricity.

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Golden window electrodes developed for organic solar cells

Researchers have developed a gold plated window as the transparent electrode for organic solar cells. Contrary to what one might expect, these electrodes have the potential to be relatively cheap since the thickness of gold used is only 8 billionths of a meter.

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