Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Solar Cell

Pure Tension Volvo Pavilion

"How am I going to prevent that battery from dying on my trip?" It's a sentiment that's been echoed again and again, even by the most ardent EV early adopters, and certainly by the auto consuming public at large. With only 100 miles (161 km) of battery power on a good day, and few charging stations along most routes, the fear of sputtering out on the highway is real and pervasive. With help from a collaborative of designers and architects, Volvo shows one possible solution – a collapsible, carport-sized solar charging pavilion named Pure Tension.  Read More

Inspired by moths' eyes, scientists have created new technology that may help improve the ...

Because moths need to use every little bit of light available in order to see in the dark, their eyes are highly non-reflective. This quality has been copied in a film that can be applied to solar cells, which helps keep sunlight from being reflecting off of them before it can be utilized. Now, a new moth eye-inspired film may further help solar cells become more efficient.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered a method for creating solar cell mat...

For most people, experiments involving a home microwave typically don't go much further than inflating a marshmallow like a balloon or reheating leftovers in plasticware – both with messy results. For metallurgists though, microwaves are sometimes employed to efficiently process metals, which is how researchers at the University of Utah found themselves using a secondhand kitchen appliance in their lab. Their resourcefulness paid off recently, when the team discovered a method for creating solar cell material with just a few basic ingredients and an old microwave.  Read More

Research at UNSW increases the conversion efficiency of solar cells made using lower-cost,...

While we wait for affordable multi-junction solar cells that are pushing past the 40 percent conversion efficiency mark to make it out of the lab and onto our roofs, we have to make do with standard commercial silicon cells that currently max out at around 19 percent. A team from the University of New South Wales in Australia has found a way to improve the quality of low-grade silicon, enabling higher efficiency solar cells to be produced from cheaper, low-grade silicon.  Read More

Spectrolab has achieved a record 37.8 percent efficiency with a new multi-junction solar c...

Spectrolab, a Boeing subsidiary known for the manufacture of solar cells for satellites and spacecraft, has in recent years turned its attention to terrestrial solar cells to tap into the expanding alternative energy market. Now the California-based company has claimed a new solar cell efficiency record of 37.8 percent for a ground-based multi-junction cell without solar concentration.  Read More

The new solar cells can be easily recycled in water at room temperature

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University have developed new solar cells based on natural substances derived from plants, including trees. The organic solar cells have an efficiency of 2.7 percent – a new high for cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials – and can be easily recycled.  Read More

The Volta Racer is powered by a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel

If you want to teach children about hydrogen power, you can always buy them a fuel cell-powered toy car like the H-ROVER. Should you wish to show them the merits of solar power, there are also quite a number of solar panel-equipped cars from which to choose. ToyLabs’ new Volta Racer, however, is reportedly the first toy car to feature a flexible polycrystalline silicon solar panel.  Read More

Associate Professor Darren Sun with some of his Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, prior to its i...

Graphene could soon be facing some competition for the unofficial title of “World’s Most Useful New Substance.” Led by Associate Professor Darren Sun, a team of scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have spent the past five years developing a material known as Multi-use Titanium Dioxide. Their research indicates that it can be used to produce hydrogen and clean water from wastewater, double the lifespan of batteries, create antibacterial wound dressings ... and more.  Read More

Oxide heterostructures could be used to produce solar cells in which light is converted in...

Researchers from the Vienna University of Technology, together with colleagues from the U.S. and Germany, have used computer simulations to show how the unique electrical properties of a new class of materials known as layered oxide heterostructures can potentially be used to create a new type of efficient, ultra-thin solar cell.  Read More

Swedish researchers believe that size is they key to furthering the development of nanowir...

In a breakthrough that could lead to more efficient and cheaper solar cells, scientists at Sweden's Lund University claim to have identified the ideal diameter for nanowires to convert sunlight into electricity.  Read More

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