Trending Solar Technologies
Solar is booming. Trending Solar Technologies are organic or plastic solar cells with nano technology. But there is more. Read all about the trending technologies.
A lot of the excitement now is about using the principles of photonics to manage light waves in the most efficient way.
There are perhaps hundreds of groups in the world working on this. We introduce you to new, breakthrough technologies. As prices are lowering: panel prices below 65 cents per watt
We collected all kinds of new solar technologies. Let’s show you the top trending products.
The plastic used in organic solar cells has low production costs in high volumes. Combined with the flexibility of organic molecules, organic cells are potentially cost-effective for photovoltaic applications.
The optical absorption coefficient of organic molecules is high, so a large amount of light can be absorbed with a small amount of materials.
The movie lasts for about 100 femtoseconds (fs), and is slowed down by about three hundred thousand billions of times with respect to the real phenomenon, in order to make the ultrafast time scale visible to humans.
Source: Istituto Nanoscienze — CNR
1. Organic squaraine dye cells by Yale
Yale researchers recently discovered a way to boost the efficiency of solar cells by 38% by coating them with a fluorescent dye.
Polymer cells are popular for their low cost, low weight, large area and mechanical flexibility, but they are relatively inefficient at converting energy absorbed into usable electricity. The organic squaraine dye improves light absorption and recycles electrons, thereby hastening the light to energy conversion process.
The Yale researchers relied on Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET), a well-known biochemical mechanism, to achieve this radical new energy conversion rate.
Their research was published in the online journal Nature Photonics.
2. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology succeeded with organic photovoltaics
A new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts. They succeeded:
- enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells
- reducing their production costs
- increasing their life-time
These plastic cells have several advantages: They are light-weight, mechanically flexible, can be produced in arbitrary colors, and hence allow a customized design for a variety of applications. Read more
3. Technical University of Denmark has developed large sheets of flexible organic cells
The manufactured tandem OPV modules are made up of 14 layers which are quickly printed, coated or stacked on each other using this relatively inexpensive, scalable and high yield protocol.
As recap, organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells are polymer-based thin film cells with the advantage of being lightweight, flexible, cheap, and easily disposable over conventional cells. More info
4. More efficiently energy when align face-on the cells
New research from North Carolina State University and UNC-Chapel Hill reveals that energy is transferred more efficiently inside of complex, three-dimensional organic solar cells when the donor molecules align face-on, rather than edge-on, relative to the acceptor.
This finding may aid in the design and manufacture of more efficient and economically viable organic cell technology.
Organic cell efficiency depends upon the ease with which an exciton – the energy particle created when light is absorbed by the material – can find the interface between the donor and acceptor molecules within the cell.
At the interface, the exciton is converted into charges that travel to the electrodes, creating power.
While this sounds straightforward enough, the reality is that molecules within the donor and acceptor layers can mix, cluster into domains, or both, leading to variances in domain purity and size which can affect the power conversion process.
5. New nano-material could boost PV efficiency as high as 80%
A new nano-material could act as a ‘thermal emitter’, making solar power significantly more efficient by scooping up more of that wasted energy.
Stanford professor Shanhui Fan and Paul Braun at University of Illinois developed a new way to use tungsten as a thermal emitter.
The tungsten structures were coated in a nano layer of hafnium dioxide, a ceramic which added significant structural durability at high temperatures.
Whereas raw tungsten absorption surfaces would break down at 1800 degrees Fahrenheit, these nano-coated surfaces operated without issue for 12 hours at that temperature. At 2500 degrees Fahrenheit the material still lasted an hour before breaking down. The team believes this could get thermophotovoltaic technology much closer to the high efficiencies shown on paper.
This approach to improving solar cells is appealing for a variety of reasons.
Both tungsten and hafnium dioxide are extremely plentiful and safe to work with. Thermal emitters also work with existing cell technology, making it simple to add them to existing systems. The researchers will continue evaluating other types of ceramics to further improve the heat tolerance of thermal emitters, which may finally see use in photovoltaic systems.
6. Integrated solar system generates electricity and heat
Australian steel manufacturer Bluescope produced an integrated PV thermal system.
The rooftop array combines thin-film solar photovoltaic (PV) panels with a thermal duct system that warms and cools the air. The top layer produces electricity from the sun just as a normal PV panel would, while heat is trapped between the layers and distributed to the home.
Solar Roof Tiles range in efficiency from around 15-20%
What new technologies did we forget? You are welcome to reply with new solar improvements.
7. MIT developed solar cells as light as a bubble
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a very thin, lightweight and flexible cell.
In the future, the technology allows solar cells to be used for caps, smart phones, paper and even a helium balloon. Read more
8. Research MiLiCiA – IBC solar cells
Aim of the new MiLiCiA research project is to develop a low-concentration PV technology that can compete with conventional power generation without subsidies or feed-in tariffs.
LineSolar has the ambition to produce their Multi-Line Concentration (MLC) technology at 0.33 €/Wp manufacturing costs.
9. New solar cell 1 micrometer thick
Scientists have developed solar cells of 1 micrometer thick. That’s 100 times thinner than a human hair.
By transfer printing instead of etching, the new method developed by Lee and his colleagues may be used to make very flexible photovoltaics with a smaller amount of materials. The thin cells can be integrated onto glasses frames or fabric and might power the next wave of wearable electronics.
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