Highlights from the 2015 Geneva Motor Show

Solar Cell

Kyocera has developed a smartphone prototype that features a display with a Wysips Crystal...

Kyocera likes to position itself as a maker of smartphones that can go anywhere, with ruggedized, waterproof devices like the Bear Grylls-endorsed Brigadier. Building on that reputation, the company is showing a new solar-powered prototype that can also charge anywhere, so long as it's not too dark or cloudy.  Read More

Tiny silicon cones inspired by the eye's fovea centralis could unlock big gains in solar c...

Solar cells don't at first glance have any relation to a tiny structure in the eye that makes our central vision sharp, but that tiny structure – called the fovea centralis – may be the key to a huge boost in solar cell efficiency. A team of scientists at Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light took the underlying mechanisms that guide the fovea and adapted them to silicon as a surface for collecting light in solar cells.  Read More

The energy-harvesting tree collects energy from light, temperature differences, and vibrat...

In January, the VTT Technical Centre of Finland unveiled its decorative, mass-producible organic photovoltaic (OPV) leaves designed to capture energy from interior lighting to power small devices and sensors. Now, the company has followed the logical path and come up with an energy-harvesting tree that generates electricity from a variety of sources.  Read More

A new theoretical result could lead to designing semiconductors with ideal efficiency for ...

Solar cell efficiency has made significant strides in recent times, but cells are still far from their maximum theoretical efficiency, and part of the reason is that the semiconductors we use to build them don’t have ideal electrical properties. Researchers at Northwestern University have now found a way to tweak an important electrical feature of transition metal oxides, compounds commonly used as semiconductors, to build the optimal light-absorbing material for solar cells, lasers and photoelectrochemical cells.  Read More

The flexible, recyclable solar panels could be used to power small devices and sensors (Ph...

VTT Technical Centre of Finland is aiming to bring solar energy into the realm of interior design by developing a new method of printing both decorative graphics and functional components onto flexible organic solar panels.  Read More

Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg announcing the route for Si2's historic around-the-w...

In anticipation of its historic round-the-world flight attempt, the route planned for Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) has been unveiled. The first solar-powered plane capable of day and night flight, the Si2 will spend 25 days aloft spread over a period of five months as it traverses 35,000 km (22,000 mi) with stops at 12 locations around the globe.  Read More

Fraunhofer's solar-powered radio sensor chip, mounted in a window

Although it may be handy to have sensors in your windows that remind you if you've left them open, running electrical wiring to all those sensors (or regularly changing their batteries) could be a hassle. A new window-monitoring radio sensor chip, however, gets all the power it needs from the sun.  Read More

Researchers have achieved a solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency of 12.3% using ...

Using solar energy to split water into its component parts, thereby allowing the solar energy to be stored as hydrogen fuel, generally involves one of two methods: using photoelectrochemical cells to directly split the water, or using solar cells to produce electricity to power an electrolyzer that separates the water molecules. One problem associated with the latter method is that it currently relies on rare metals. But now scientists from Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have managed to do so using common materials, and have achieved a record solar energy to hydrogen conversion efficiency in the process.  Read More

The SprayLD system developed by University of Toronto researchers can spray colloidal quan...

Spray-on cells hold considerable promise for reducing the manufacturing costs of solar power. Within this field, colloidal quantum dots (CQD) have also been the focus of a number if research efforts, as they have the potential to soak up a wider range of the solar spectrum. Scientists at the University of Toronto have been aboard the quantum dot train for some time now and their latest breakthrough involves a new method for spraying solar cells onto flexible surfaces, a development that could one day see them coat anything from bicycle helmets to outdoor furniture.  Read More

The University of NSW have produced a PV system that converts over 40 percent of sunlight ...

Solar researchers working at the University of New South Wales claim to have produced a system that converts over 40 percent of incoming sunlight into electricity, thereby taking the title of highest solar efficiency for a photovoltaic system ever reported.  Read More

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