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Solar Cell

Children

Son-X gives kids audio encouragement to get into the swing of things

It's hard to believe how many classic children's toys are getting modern makeovers these days - from the Etch A Sketch to toy helicopters to footballs - and now it looks like even the playground swing set is getting a slight upgrade with the Son-X Octavia. When attached to any swing, the Son-X will play different sound bites depending on how high or long a child swings, encouraging them to go higher.Read More

Environment

Stable dye-sensitized solar cell may provide cheaper alternative to silicon

Solar power is up there as the quintessential clean energy and there’s a race worldwide to develop better solar cells to overcome current challenges related to cell efficiency, manufacturing costs, durability and materials, among other things. One of the latest developments in the sector comes from Northwestern University where researchers have developed a stable dye-sensitized solar cell that may one day prove cheaper than silicon-based cells.Read More

Environment

Doping leads to new efficiency record for graphene solar cells

Doping graphene with trifluoromethanesulfonyl-amide (TFSA) has enabled researchers at the University of Florida (UF) to set a new efficiency record for graphene solar cells. While the record-breaking efficiency of 8.6 percent is well short of the efficiencies seen in other types of solar cells, it is a big improvement over previous graphene solar cells that saw efficiencies ranging up to 2.9 percent. The development provides hope for cheaper, durable graphene solar cells in the future.Read More

Science

"Decorated" nanowires could lead to better batteries and solar cells

Higher-density batteries, more efficient thin-film solar cells, and better catalysts may all soon be possible, thanks to a new technique that allows nanowires to be “decorated” with nanoparticles. Using the novel technology, scientists from Stanford University have been able to festoon the outside surfaces of nanowires with intricate chains of metal oxide or noble metal nanoparticles, thereby drastically boosting the effective surface area of the nanowires. Other researchers have previously tried to achieve the same end result, but apparently never with such success.Read More

Environment

Cheap, stable, printable liquid solar cells developed

Scientists at the University of Southern California (USC) have developed technology to cheaply produce stable liquid solar cells that can be painted or printed onto clear surfaces. The technology relies on solar nanocrystals that are around four nanometers in size - meaning you could fit more than 250 billion on the head of a pin. Their size allows them to be suspended in a liquid solution so they could be printed like a newspaper. The downside, commercialization of this technology is still years away. Read More

Environment

Dow Solar rolls out Solar Shingles in California and Texas

Installing photovoltaic panels is certainly the most common method of generating solar power on a rooftop, and in fact many people might think it’s the only method. There is, however, an alternative – photovoltaic shingles. It makes sense, when you think about it ... why install weatherproof shingles and solar panels separately, if you could get one thing that combined both? Although there aren’t many manufacturers offering such products just yet, this month Dow Solar made its POWERHOUSE Solar Shingles available to consumers in northern California and central Texas.Read More

Environment

“Photochemical upconversion” could allow conventional solar cells to break 40% efficiency

While the overall efficiency of conventional silicon solar cells has continued to improve in recent years, the technology faces a natural theoretical limit at around 33%. This is because the laws of physics prevent the cells from absorbing photons below a certain energy level, meaning that this low-energy light cannot be converted into electricity is simply lost. Now researchers have found a way join two energy-poor red photons to form a single energy-rich yellow photon, allowing the harvesting of this part of the spectrum currently unused by single p-n junction crystalline silicon solar cells, and potentially enabling a record-breaking efficiency of 40%.Read More

Environment

3D solar towers offer up to 20 times more power output than traditional flat solar panels

While we’ve looked at the development of solar cell technologies that employ nanoscale 3D structures to trap light and increase the amount of solar energy absorbed, MIT researchers have now used 3D on the macro scale to achieve power output that is up to 20 times greater than traditional fixed flat solar panels with the same base area. The approach developed by the researchers involves extending the solar cells upwards in a three-dimensional tower or cube configuration to enable them to better capture the sun's rays when it is lower on the horizon.Read More

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