The solar industry in Georgia is pushing a power monopoly to expand its use of solar energy as it plans to meet the state's electricity needs over the next two decades. State utility regulators heard testimony Tuesday on the energy plans from Southern Co. subsidiary Georgia Power, which must submit new plans every three years.
In the wake of the sobering news that atmospheric carbon dioxide is now at its highest level in at least three million years, an important advance in the race to develop carbon-neutral renewable energy sources has been achieved. Scientists with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have reported the first fully integrated nanosystem for artificial photosynthesis.
Using a powerful combination of microanalytic techniques that simultaneously image photoelectric current and chemical reaction rates across a surface on a micrometer scale, researchers at NIST have shed new light on what may become a cost-effective way to generate hydrogen gas directly from water and sunlight.
Purple bacteria are among Earth’s oldest organisms, and among its most efficient in turning sunlight into usable chemical energy. A new analysis to determine the reason for its light-harvesting prowess has revealed a ring-shaped molecule with an unusual ninefold symmetry. This symmetry accounts its efficiency, and for its mechanical durability and strength.
The California Energy Commission has awarded $1.7 million to a partnership between Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Cool Earth Solar Inc. to conduct a community-scale renewable energy integration demonstration project at the Livermore Valley Open Campus.
A polymer thin film solar cell (PSC) produces electricity from sunlight by the photovoltaic effect. Though light and inexpensive, PSCs currently suffer from a lack of enough efficiency for large scale applications and they also have stability problems. Researches in Korea have designed and added multi-positional silica-coated silver nanoparticles that have greatly improved stability and performance of these cells.
For some solar cells, the future may be fluorescent. Scientists at Yale University have improved the ability of a promising type of solar cell to absorb light and convert it into electrical power by adding a fluorescent organic dye to the cell layer. This squaraine dye boosts light absorption and recycles electrons, improving the conversion of light into energy.
A team from Argonne National Laboratory has worked for years to develop a new type of solar cell known as organic photovoltaics (OPVs). Because of their potential to reduce costs for both fabrication and materials, OPVs could be much cheaper to manufacture than conventional solar cells and have a smaller environmental impact as well. However, they aren’t as efficient as conventional solar cells due to one limitation.
Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. Fossil fuels? They were going to be expensive and scarce. But in the race to conquer energy technology, Old Energy is winning.
Technology created an energy revolution over the past decade—just not the one we expected. By now, cars were supposed to be running on fuel made from plant waste or algae—or powered by hydrogen or cheap batteries that burned nothing at all. Electricity would be generated with solar panels and wind turbines. When the sun didn't shine or the wind didn't blow, power would flow out of batteries the size of tractor-trailers.
Using the same devious mechanism that enables some bacteria to shrug off powerful antibiotics, scientists have developed solar-powered nanofilters that remove antibiotics from the water in lakes and rivers twice as efficiently as the best existing technology.
On Monday, scientists with IBM Research, Airlight Energy, and ETH Zurich officially launched plans to develop an affordable photovoltaic system capable concentrating solar radiation 2,000 times and converting 80% of the incoming radiation into useful energy. The system is based on a low-cost, large dish-like concentrator and micro-channel cooled high performance photovoltaic chips suitable for mass-production.
Considered the world's most advanced sun-powered plane, the Solar Impulse took off from Moffett Field at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View on Friday at first light. The two-hour practice run was held in advance of a planned multi-city, cross-country tour, which previews a flight around in the world in about two years.
Throughout decades of research on solar cells, one formula has been considered an absolute limit to the efficiency of such devices in converting sunlight into electricity: Called the Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit, it posits that the ultimate conversion efficiency can never exceed 34% for a single optimized semiconductor junction. Now, researchers have shown that there is a way to blow past that limit.
Natural gas power plants can use about 20% less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system being developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The system converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.
First Solar Inc., in a major strategic shift, will begin making a type of solar panel it has long competed against in an effort to win new customers. First Solar announced Tuesday it would acquire TetraSun, which has developed a design for high-efficiency solar panels, from JX Nippon Oil & Gas Energy Corp.
Another innovative feature has been added to the world’s first practical “artificial leaf,” making the device even more suitable for providing people in developing countries and remote areas with electricity, scientists reported at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting & Exposition this week. It gives the leaf the ability to self-heal damage that occurs during production of energy.
Imagine a solar panel more efficient than today’s best solar panels, but using 10,000 times less material. This is what researchers in France expect given recent findings on these tiny filaments called nanowires. Solar technology integrating nanowires could capture large quantities of light and produce energy with incredible efficiency at a much lower cost.
The construction of the photovoltaic power industry since 2000 has required an enormous amount of energy, mostly from fossil fuels. The good news is that the clean electricity from all the installed solar panels has likely just surpassed the energy going into the industry's continued growth, Stanford University researchers find.
Solar Impulse, considered the world's most advanced solar-powered plane, is set to travel across the United States, stopping for seven to 10 days at major airports in each city, so the pilots can display and discuss the aircraft with reporters, students, engineers and aviation fans. It plans to reach New York's Kennedy Airport in early July—without using a drop of fuel, its creators said.
Solar cells are just like leaves, capturing the sunlight and turning it into energy. It’s fitting that they can now be made partially from trees. Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University researchers have developed efficient solar cells using natural substrates derived from plants such as trees. Just as importantly, by fabricating them on cellulose nanocrystal substrates, the solar cells can be quickly recycled in water at the end of their lifecycle.
The typical solar cell efficiency limit―called the "Shockley-Queisser Limit"―has for many years has been a landmark for solar cell efficiency. Scientists from at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen and other colleagues have shown that a single nanowire can increase this limit by concentrating sunlight up to 15 times normal intensity.
Using exotic particles called quantum dots as the basis for a photovoltaic cell is not a new idea, but attempts to make such devices have not yet achieved sufficiently high efficiency in converting sunlight to power. A new wrinkle added by a team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology—embedding the quantum dots within a forest of nanowires—promises to provide a significant boost.
Solar panel installations in the U.S. grew 76 percent in 2012 as the cost of panels and the surrounding equipment continued to fall, according to an annual report by a solar trade group. The U.S. installed panels capable of producing 3,313 megawatts of peak electricity, up from 1,887 megawatts in 2011, the report said.
The search for sustainable new materials to store heat captured from the sun for release during the night has led scientists to a high-tech combination of paraffin wax and sand.