Campers, soldiers, and homeowners are the benefactors of the lightweight, flexible, thin-film Copper Indium Gallium diSelenide (CIGS) photovoltaic (PV) modules, developed by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., and Global Solar Energy, Tucson, Ariz. The modules’ flexible stainless steel backing and CIGS formulation supports a 40% gain in conversion efficiency, nearly twice the power-to-weight ratio, and three times the power-to-volume ratio found in amorphous silicon-based cells.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., with First Solar, LLC, Perrysburg, Ohio, have created a high rate vapor transport deposition (HRVTD) technology for CdTe PV modules. This system enables in-line, continuous manufacture of thin-film photovoltaic (PV) modules and allows PV to broaden its reach into the commercial market by generating 50 W at $2.50/W, a 30% cost reduction.
Manufacturers of heat-exchanger tubes no longer have to turn to expensive titanium alloys and stainless steel to deal with corrosion problems. With the help of the Smart, High-Performance Polyphenylenesulfide (PPS) Coating System, they can go back to using carbon-steel tubes. By lining internal and external tube walls with PPS coating, makers can transform the tubes highly susceptible to corrosion into well-protected ones.
More than 150 gas stations incorporate the Power-View Photovoltaic Module, structural material/solar panels that provide 17% of a station’s electricity supply. The research team led by Robert Oswald and Frank Liu from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., and BP Solar, Toano, Va., designed a Power-View module as two pieces of heat-strengthened glass with thin film deposited on the front piece and then laminated to a second piece.
A new material, developed by a research team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo.; Argonide Corp., Sanford, Fla.; and the Design Technology Center, Russian Academy of Sciences, Tomsk, is the first fiber to perform bioactive filtration. NanoCeram Nanoalumina Fiber eliminates pathogens from water or other fluids, and has applications in chemisorption of heavy metals and bone tissue engineering.