Solar Energy News -- ScienceDaily
Semiconductor breakthrough may be game-changer for organic solar cells
Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:11:39 EST
In an advance that could push cheap, ubiquitous solar power closer to reality, researchers have found a way to coax electrons to travel much further than was previously thought possible in the materials often used for organic solar cells and other organic semiconductors.
Perovskite solar cells: Perfection not required
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 11:11:05 EST
Metal-organic perovskite layers for solar cells are frequently fabricated using the spin coating technique on industry-relevant compact substrates. These perovskite layers generally exhibit numerous holes, yet attain astonishingly high levels of efficiency. The reason that these holes do not lead to significant short circuits between the front and back contact has now been discovered.
Magnetic liquids improve energy efficiency of buildings
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 09:36:54 EST
Climate protection and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions have been on top of global development agendas. Accordingly, research and development projects have been conducted on national and international levels, which aim for the improvement of the CO2-footprint in diverse processes. Apart from particularly energy-intensive sectors of the industry, the building sector in particular is among the biggest CO2-emmitters: from residential homes, manufacturing facilities and storage depots to big commercial buildings, about 40 percent of the energy consumption within the EU are due to the heating, cooling, air conditioning and lighting of buildings.
Slow 'hot electrons' could improve solar cell efficiency
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 08:50:03 EST
Photons with energy higher than the 'band gap' of the semiconductor absorbing them give rise to what are known as hot electrons. The extra energy is lost very fast, as it is converted into heat so it does not contribute to the voltage. Researchers have now found a material in which these hot electrons retain their high energy levels for much longer.
Solar fuels: better efficiency using microwires
Mon, 15 Jan 2018 12:16:41 EST
Researchers have made significant efficiency improvements to the technology used to generate solar fuels. This involves the direct conversion of energy from sunlight into a usable fuel (in this case, hydrogen). Using only earth-abundant materials, they developed the most efficient conversion method to date. The trick was to decouple the site where sunlight is captured from the site where the conversion reaction takes place.
Harnessing the power of algae: New, greener fuel cells move step closer to reality
Wed, 10 Jan 2018 11:29:38 EST
A new design of algae-powered fuel cells that is five times more efficient than existing plant and algal models, as well as being potentially more cost-effective to produce and practical to use, has been developed.
Sun, wind, and power trading
Tue, 09 Jan 2018 10:28:03 EST
The use of renewables like the sun and wind can cause fluctuations in power grids. But what impact do these fluctuations have on security of supply? To answer this question, scientists analyzed different types of fluctuations in several power grids in Europe, Japan, and the USA -- and came to surprising conclusions.
Making solar energy more efficient
Fri, 05 Jan 2018 08:23:30 EST
Researchers have demonstrated methods of optimizing the capture of sunlight.
Laser evaporation technology to create new solar materials
Wed, 03 Jan 2018 10:11:11 EST
Researchers use lasers to blast solutions containing delicate organic compounds to grow new types of crystals for solar cells, light-emitting diodes and photodetectors.
Tweaking quantum dots powers-up double-pane solar windows
Tue, 02 Jan 2018 13:48:46 EST
Researchers are creating double-pane solar windows that generate electricity with greater efficiency and also create shading and insulation. It's all made possible by a new window architecture which utilizes two different layers of low-cost quantum dots tuned to absorb different parts of the solar spectrum. The approach complements existing photovoltaic technology by adding high-efficiency sunlight collectors to existing solar panels or integrating them as semitransparent windows into a building's architecture.
Standardizing perovskite aging measurements
Tue, 02 Jan 2018 10:33:20 EST
Scientists have produced a data-driven proposal for standardizing the measurements of perovskite solar cell stability and degradation. The work aims to create consensus in the field and overcome one of the major hurdles on the way to commercializing perovskite photovoltaics.
Alaskan microgrids offer energy resilience and independence
Fri, 22 Dec 2017 09:27:34 EST
The electrical grid in the contiguous United States is a behemoth of interconnected systems. If one section fails or is sabotaged, millions of citizens could be without power. Remote villages in Alaska provide an example of how safeguards could build resilience into a larger electrical grid. These communities rely on microgrids -- small, local power stations that operate autonomously.
New technique allows rapid screening for new types of solar cells
Wed, 20 Dec 2017 13:16:41 EST
A new method could greatly speed up the development of novel new materials for future photovoltaic cells.
Halogens can increase solar cell performance by 25 per cent
Wed, 20 Dec 2017 09:17:38 EST
New research shows that using halogens -- a class of elements that include fluoride, bromine, chlorine and iodine -- in a dye-sensitized solar cell can increase conversion efficiency by 25 per cent. The discovery could set the stage for improved solar cell designs.
Paving the way for a non-electric battery to store solar energy
Tue, 19 Dec 2017 14:43:21 EST
Materials chemists have been trying for years to make a battery that can store solar energy in chemical bonds rather than electrons, releasing the energy later as heat. Now a group of materials chemists report that they have solved a major hurdle by developing a polymer-based system.
Nontraditional sites for future solar farms
Tue, 19 Dec 2017 13:36:54 EST
In a study published today in Environmental Science and Technology, researchers at the University of California, Riverside and the University of California, Davis, explored the possibility of developing solar installations on a variety of unconventional sites in California's Central Valley.
Expanding solar energy without encroaching on potential farmland and conservation areas
Tue, 19 Dec 2017 09:13:22 EST
As the world tries to combat climate change, sustainable forms of energy are on the rise. Solar energy is of particular interest, but arrays of photovoltaic panels take up a lot of space and can compete for prime food-producing land. Now researchers have found plenty of places to install solar devices without taking up arable land, while generating enough power to help regions meet their energy goals.
Floating solar fuels rig created for seawater electrolysis
Fri, 15 Dec 2017 09:44:43 EST
Chemical engineers have developed a novel photovoltaic-powered electrolysis device that can operate as a stand-alone platform that floats on open water. The floating PV-electrolyzer can be thought of as a 'solar fuels rig' that bears some resemblance to deep-sea oil rigs -- but it would produce hydrogen fuel from sunlight and water instead of extracting petroleum from beneath the sea floor.
Climate conditions affect solar cell performance more than expected
Wed, 13 Dec 2017 14:37:25 EST
Researchers can now predict how much energy solar cells will produce at any location worldwide. Surprisingly, they identified that two types of solar cells can vary in energy output by 5 percent or more in tropical regions. This gap occurs because solar energy can shift depending on local temperature and water in the atmosphere. Their work emphasizes that solar products may behave differently depending on their environment.
Glass with switchable opacity could improve solar cells and LEDs
Mon, 11 Dec 2017 14:57:31 EST
Researchers have created glass that lets through a large amount of light while appearing hazy, a combination of properties that could help boost the performance of solar cells and LEDs.

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