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Photovoltaic

A closeup of the tiny thermal PV system, in which a carbon nanotube layer absorbs solar en...

It’s not a new idea to improve upon traditional solar cells by first converting light into heat, then reemitting the energy at specific wavelengths optimally tuned to the requirements of the solar cell, but this method has suffered from low efficiencies. However, new research at MIT using nanoscale materials finally shows how thermophotovoltaics could become competitive with their traditional cousins, and grant benefits such as storing solar energy in the form of heat to postpone conversion into electricity.  Read More

Researchers are claiming a record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a new graphene-based sola...

In 2012, researchers from the University of Florida reported a record efficiency of 8.6 percent for a prototype solar cell consisting of a wafer of silicon coated with a layer of graphene doped with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA). Now another team is claiming a new record efficiency of 15.6 percent for a graphene-based solar cell by ditching the silicon all together.  Read More

Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on  solar power devices

Despite their noble cause of harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun, solar panels tend to be aesthetically uninspiring. Solar start-up Rawlemon aims to change all that with a new, and undeniably beautiful, take on concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology.  Read More

Local luminaries fire up the now solar-powered Las Vegas sign

Last week, the world's attention was focused on Las Vegas thanks to the Consumer Electronics Show. With that backdrop of bleeding-edge technology, the city's iconic welcome sign received a little technological makeover of its own.  Read More

The C-Max Solar Energi Concept uses solar panels on its top for charging

A plug-in hybrid car sounds like an excellent way of squaring the circle between the green cred of an electric car and the range and reliability of one that runs on petrol, but what if you live somewhere that’s a bit off the grid? Ford’s answer is its C-Max Solar Energi Concept, which makes its debut at CES next week. The car uses a combination of high-efficiency solar panels and a separate frame roofed with a Fresnel lens to concentrate sunlight on the panels to give it a proper charge without using the engine or plugging into the electrical mains.  Read More

Gizmag looks at the top five aeronautical stories of 2013

It’s almost 2014 and time for a bit of aeronautical reflection as we look back at what records were broken, which new prizes were won, and what new technologies promise us a hypersonic, jet-packed future of aviation and innovation. So let’s have a glance at Gizmag’s pick of the top five aeronautical achievements of 2013.  Read More

RUB researchers have developed a bio-based solar cell using cyanobacteria found in hot spr...

Researchers at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum have created a bio-based solar cell capable of generating a continuous electrical current of several nanowatts per sq cm. The new approach avoids damage to the tapped photosynthetic cells, an issue that has plagued previous attempts to harness nature's "power plant."  Read More

The TURANOR PlanetSolar cruises past Tahiti

Solar technology has evolved beyond just your grandpa's big, bulky photovoltaic panels on the roof. Advances in flexible, hyper-efficient and nano-scale materials of late has made it possible for solar cells to begin popping up in all kinds of shapes and places you might not expect. Here's a quick rundown of some surprising spots where solar technology dwells – be sure to flip through the gallery to get a full grasp on the scale of the increasingly solar-powered landscape.  Read More

The SOAK concept is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign

Shipping containers have been used to revolutionize housing, and have also given rise to wacky ideas like an extreme sports theme park. Thanks to a new concept dubbed SOAK, we can add sustainable bathhouse to the growing list of potential uses for the durable metal boxes.  Read More

The noise of urban environments may help boost the efficiency of solar cells (Image: Shutt...

Increasing the efficiency of a hybrid solar cell simply by placing it near a source of ambient noise or vibration would be a boon for photovoltaics in urban areas, in the military, or on machinery or transportation. Hybrid organic/inorganic solar cells are already a tempting option over silicon because of their lower cost, but they suffer from their own drawbacks of efficiency. However, new research demonstrates that the piezoelectric qualities of the cells' inorganic layer can be used to boost the overall efficiency of hybrid systems, which is promising for wherever sound and sun are together.  Read More

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