A new type of nanoparticle has been created by that converts invisible near-infrared light to higher energy blue and UV light with record-high efficiency. The multi-layered layered nanoparticle has potential for use in solar energy harvesting, bio-imaging, and light-based
Like every other team currently taking part in the World Solar Challenge, an arduous 3,000 km solar-powered race across the Australian outback, the University of Michigan Solar Car Team will look to keep its car chugging along by exposing it to as much sunlight as possible. But the UM team has brought along a little piece of added technology it hopes will offer an edge. Developed by IBM, the solar forecasting system tracks the clouds moving overhead so the team knows where they need to be and when to draw maximum energy from the sun.
If you're looking to bring together the world's brightest budding engineers to push solar technology to its very limits, then there may be no better backdrop than the dusty, sun-drenched expanses of central Australia. The biennial World Solar Challenge will kick off this Sunday, with competitors set to cover a monster 3,000 km (1,864 mi) journey from Darwin, Northern Territory to Adelaide, South Australia in cars powered purely by the sun. As hopefuls from all over the globe ready their rides for the ultimate in solar-powered endurance racing, here's a quick look at some of the interesting vehicle designs, who's new to the party and a few that have been around the block before.
You would think that the more sunlight that hits a solar panel, the better. When it comes to efficiency though, that's not the case – as photovoltaic cells heat up their efficiency decreases. To capture that heat and put it to good use, a team of scientists from Brunel University London has created a hybrid system that turns the whole roof into a solar generator.
Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy
and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the
Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture
and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their
creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting.
Sunlight can be used to generate electricity either through a
photovoltaic effect, or by harnessing the heat produced by the light.
There are already hybrid systems that combine both, but scientists at
Korea's Yonsei University have now developed a type of hybrid setup that
they claim works better.
Researchers claim to have hit on the right combination of solar cell type and battery to charge an electric vehicle battery with higher efficiency than ever before. The team behind the research says the system could soon make it possible to attach small cells to a car that will charge the vehicle while being driven – on a sunny day, at least.
The use of sunlight as an energy source is achieved in a number of ways, from conversion to electricity via photovoltaic (PV) panels, concentrated heat to drive steam turbines, and even hydrogen generation via artificial photosynthesis. Unfortunately, much of the light energy in PV and photosynthesis systems is lost as heat due to the thermodynamic inefficiencies inherent in the process of converting the incoming energy from one form to another. Now scientists working at the University of Bayreuth claim to have created a super-efficient light-energy transport conduit that exhibits almost zero loss, and shows promise as the missing link in the sunlight to energy conversion process.
It may not be the first airport to fit solar panels to its terminals, but India's Cochin International Airport is set to become the first in the world powered entirely by solar. Situated in Kochi, the airport handled 6.8 million passengers in the 2014-15 financial year and forecasts a 300,000-tonne (330,700-ton) reduction in carbon emissions over the next 25 years as a result of the switch to solar.
A new, simple device has been designed for people who, for financial or practical reasons, can't have PV panels on their rooftops, but still want to show their support for solar power and help the industry grow. The amount of electricity used to power a gadget connected to the SunPort plug is offset against solar credits, essentially making your electronic device solar-powered. Kind of.