Get Prepared Now is NOT Just a Slogan

Friday, September 30, 2011

New superstrate material enables flexible, lightweight and efficient thin film solar modules

DuPont's Kapton colorless polyimide film, a new material currently in development for use as a flexible superstrate for cadmium telluride thin film photovoltaic modules, has enabled a new world record for energy conversion efficiency. A Swiss team has now demonstrated a conversion efficiency of 13.8 percent using the new colorless film, leapfrogging their previous record of 12.6 percent and nearing that of glass.

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Record efficiency of 18.7 percent for flexible solar cells on plastics, Swiss researchers report

Swiss scientists have further boosted the energy conversion efficiency of flexible solar cells made of copper indium gallium (di)selenide (also known as CIGS) to a new world record of 18.7 percent -- a significant improvement over the previous record of 17.6 percent achieved by the same team in June 2010. The measurements have been independently certified.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Phone losing charge? With photovoltaic polarizers, devices could be powered by sunlight, own backlight

Researchers have developed a novel energy harvesting and recycling concept for electronic devices -- incorporating their LCD screens with built-in photovoltaic polarizers -- so they could convert ambient light, sunlight, and the device's own backlight into electricity. Called polarizing organic photovoltaics (or ZOPVs), these can potentially boost the function of a LCD, Light Crystal Displays, by working simultaneously as a polarizer, as a photovoltaic device and as an ambient light or sunlight photovoltaic panel.

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Monday, September 26, 2011

Solar inverters: Losses are cut in half

A switching trick makes it possible to cut the losses of a series-production inverter in half and increase the efficiency from 96 to 98 percent. The new technology makes it possible to achieve a world-record efficiency of more than 99 percent.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Power from the air: Device captures ambient electromagnetic energy to drive small electronic devices

Researchers have discovered a way to capture energy transmitted by such sources as radio and television transmitters and cell phone networks. By scavenging this ambient energy from the air around us, the technique could provide a new way to power networks of wireless sensors or other devices.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Physicists explore the key energy transport process underlying solar energy harvesting

Physicists have developed an imaging technique that makes it possible to directly observe light-emitting excitons as they diffuse in rubrene, a new material being explored for its extraordinary electronic properties.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Inkjet printing could change the face of solar energy industry

Inkjet printers, a low-cost technology that in recent decades has revolutionized home and small office printing, may soon offer similar benefits for the future of solar energy. Engineers have discovered a way for the first time to create successful solar devices with inkjet printing, in work that reduces raw material waste by 90 percent and will significantly lower the cost of producing solar energy cells with some very promising compounds.

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Neutron analysis explains dynamics behind best thermoelectric materials

Neutron analysis of thermoelectric materials could spur the development of a broader range of products with the capability to transform heat to electricity.

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Pairing quantum dots with fullerenes for nanoscale photovoltaics

In a step toward engineering ever-smaller electronic devices, scientists have assembled nanoscale pairings of particles that show promise as miniaturized power sources. Composed of light-absorbing, colloidal quantum dots linked to carbon-based fullerene nanoparticles, these tiny two-particle systems can convert light to electricity in a precisely controlled way.

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

New solar product captures up to 95 percent of light energy

A chemical engineering researcher is developing a flexible solar sheet that captures more than 90 percent of available light. Today's solar panels only collect 20 percent of available light.

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Friday, September 16, 2011

Putting sunshine in the tank

Scientists are working on how to use the energy of the Sun to make fuels, which could help to solve the world's escalating energy crisis.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Researchers create tool to put the lid on solar power fluctuations

How does the power output from solar panels fluctuate when the clouds roll in? And can researchers predict these fluctuations? Researchers in California have found the answer to these questions. They also have developed a software program that allows power grid managers to easily predict fluctuations in the solar grid caused by changes in the cloud cover.

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Metal particle generates new hope for hydrogen energy

Tiny metallic particles produced by Australian chemistry researchers are bringing new hope for the production of cheap, efficient and clean hydrogen energy.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Simulated atmosphere research to help NASA interpret data from Juno mission to Jupiter

In August of 2016, when NASA's Juno Mission begins sending back information about the atmosphere of the planet Jupiter, research done by engineers using a 2,400-pound pressure vessel will help scientists understand what the data means.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

Solar energy: Smart energy management systems help store power for later use

Storing power is complicated and expensive, but very often, especially far away from the regular power grids, there is no way around large batteries for grid-independent electricity consumers. It would make more sense to use the electricity when it is generated. This becomes possible with the help of a smart energy management system.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Hybrid solar system makes rooftop hydrogen

While roofs across the world sport photovoltaic solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, an engineer believes a novel hybrid system can wring even more useful energy out of the sun's rays. Instead of systems based on standard solar panels, an engineer proposes a hybrid option in which sunlight heats a combination of water and methanol in a maze of glass tubes on a rooftop. After two catalytic reactions, the system produces hydrogen much more efficiently than current technology without significant impurities. The resulting hydrogen can be stored and used on demand in fuel cells.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New way to store sun's heat: Modified carbon nanotubes can store solar energy indefinitely, then be recharged by exposure to the sun

A novel application of carbon nanotubes shows promise as an innovative approach to storing solar energy for use whenever it's needed. Storing the sun's heat in chemical form -- rather than converting it to electricity or storing the heat itself in a heavily insulated container -- has significant advantages, since in principle the chemical material can be stored for long periods of time without losing any of its stored energy. The problem with that approach has been that until now the chemicals needed to perform this conversion and storage either degraded within a few cycles, or included the element ruthenium, which is rare and expensive.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

New solar cell: Engineers crack full-spectrum solar challenge

Engineering researchers report a new solar cell that may pave the way to inexpensive coatings that efficiently convert the sun's rays to electricity.

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Saturday, September 3, 2011

‘Cling-film’ solar cells could lead to advance in renewable energy

A scientific advance in renewable energy which promises a revolution in the ease and cost of using solar cells, has just been announced. A new study shows that even when using very simple and inexpensive manufacturing methods - where flexible layers of material are deposited over large areas like cling-film - efficient solar cell structures can be made.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Solar panels keep buildings cool

Those solar panels on top of your roof aren't just providing clean power; they are cooling your house, or your workplace, too, according to a team of environmental engineering researchers.

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