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Solar Cell

— Energy

World's first "aqueous solar flow battery" outperforms traditional lithium-iodine batteries

The scientists that revealed the "world's first solar battery" last year are now, following some modifications, reporting its first significant performance milestone. The device essentially fits a battery and solar cell into the one package, and has now been tested against traditional lithium-iodine batteries, over which the researchers are claiming energy savings of 20 percent.

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— Materials

Gallium phosphide nanowires boost hydrogen yield in prototype solar fuel cell

One of the most promising forms of artificial photosynthesis involves using solar energy to split liquid water to produce oxygen and hydrogen gas, which can be stored and used as a clean fuel. And one of the most promising semiconductor materials for such a task is gallium phosphide (GaP), which can convert sunlight into an electrical charge and also split water. Unfortunately, the material is expensive, but researchers have now used a processed form of gallium phosphide to create a prototype solar fuel cell that not only requires 10,000 times less of the precious material, but also boosts the hydrogen yield by a factor of 10.

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— Environment

Construction finishes on two floating mega-solar plants in Japan

Construction has been completed on two enormous floating solar power plants located in the Nishihira Pond and Higashihira Pond in Kato City, Japan. According to The Kyocera Corporation and the Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation, who partnered up to build the instillations, the combined output of the solar plants will be around 3,300 megawatt hours (MWh) per year, and provide electricity to an estimated 920 households. Read More
— Energy

New device combines the advantages of batteries and supercapacitors

Scientists at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute have developed a new device that combines the high energy densities of batteries and the quick charge and discharge rates of supercapacitors. The hybrid supercapacitor is reportedly six times as energy-dense as a commercially available supercapacitor and packs nearly as much energy per unit volume as a lead-acid battery. Read More
— Environment

Eyes inspire more efficient solar cell architecture

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
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