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Photovoltaic

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
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

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

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
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
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
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
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
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
Researchers at the non-profit Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have created a new design for an organic solar cell that retains good efficiency while being flexible, thin, and almost completely transparent. Put together, these characteristics may make the cells an ideal candidate for building-integrated photovoltaics. Read More
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