Home » Archive

Articles tagged with: solar

WATER, WOOD »

[13 Jul 2011 | One Comment | 4,257 views]
I Heart MIT’s New Flexible, Printable Solar Cells

My desk at work sits across from an ancient beige laser printer the size of a Volkswagen, which pretty much unceasingly spews toner particles, artfully arranged on tabloid- and letter-sized sheets of paper, out of its graceless plastic maw. I bring this up because the adjacency has driven me to resent general workday printing even more than the occasional trip to the plotter (which, if you have never tangled with a large-format printer, makes a fourteen hour trip on Aeroflot sound appealing by comparison).
I resent the noise of the printer, …

WATER »

[8 Jul 2011 | No Comment | 5,966 views]
New Nanomaterial Makes Adsorption Chilling Even Cooler!

It’s that time of year again when the mercury climbs just above 100 degrees every single day and it’s so hot that the sun obliterates any clouds brash enough to assemble themselves with the intent to produce rain.  Everything is wilted, melted, bleached out, overswept by a hot wind that makes the tail end of a jet engine seem like a lovely place with a calm and refreshing breeze.
So given these conditions, it will come as no surprise that researchers led by Peter McGrail out of the Pacific Northwest National …

FIRE »

[27 Apr 2011 | No Comment | 2,739 views]
MIT Scientists Enlist an Army of Viruses to Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

For a long time I believed all viruses to be evil due to their pernicious habits: causing common colds, infecting people and spreading influenza and other viral diseases, and wiping out hard drives with grim efficiency.  A group of researchers at MIT decided to give viruses a chance to show a softer side, and they found out that “going viral” can benefit solar cell technology by improving its efficiency by one third.
Scientists have been working with carbon nanotubes (essentially, rolled up sheets of graphene) to encourage solar cells to convert …

FIRE »

[5 Apr 2011 | One Comment | 3,486 views]
Power your Home – Turn Over a New (Solar Cell) Leaf!

Here in the northern hemisphere (especially here in the lower latitudes) Winter is receding and Spring is hopping in on little rabbit feet.  What this means, of course, is that we’re all sneezing, snuffling, and sniffling due to the staggering amount of pollen flying around in the air we breathe.  Through a fuzzy haze of allergy medication, my itchy red eyes are finally able to gaze at blooming flowers and gorgeous green leaves emerging at last from miniscule buds on tree branches.  The leaves are gearing up to perform the hard work of converting light energy into food – a task they …

FIRE, WATER »

[17 Feb 2011 | 3 Comments | 7,902 views]
Solve the Future Energy Crisis: Coat Everything with Solar Paint

To me a solar cell is kind of like a Lamborghini: difficult to acquire, difficult to maintain, and unless you’re extremely lucky, only semi-functional. Today’s solar cells only convert a small percentage of the energy from the sun into electricity, and that’s before they get dirty.  “It’s challenging to get high efficiencies of conversion. For example, the basic single junction solar cell is fundamentally limited to an efficiency of 30 percent. So, if you made a perfect solar cell, the highest efficiency would be 30 percent. Currently, manufacturing cells with anything near that …

FIRE, WATER »

[9 Sep 2010 | 4 Comments | 3,763 views]
Swedish Researchers Use Dripping Jellyfish Goo to Create New Solar Cells

 
Life is funny sometimes.  Just yesterday I was talking to a coworker about this crazy book I’m reading that I may have mentioned in a previous post called The Singularity is Near by Ray Kurzweil, in which the author posits that we are moving towards a world where our technology and biology fuse to become indistinguishable, and now today I’m writing about solar cells powered by bioluminescent jellyfish.  Let me also say that I’d much rather write about jellyfish than swim with them; they navigate the sea in creepy pulsing motions and some of them …

FIRE »

[1 Mar 2010 | One Comment | 3,454 views]
New Light-trapping Material Boosts Solar Cell Efficiency

Silicon solar cells are popping up in lots of places these days – they’re powering traffic lights and security cameras, they’re clinging in neatly ordered arrays to rooftops, and they’ve even been spotted in all their sparkly blue splendor on the occasional backpack (where they are used to power mp3 players, fancy calculators, and cell phones). 

Image credit www.devicedaily.com
Here’s how solar cells work at the most basic level:  photons (units of light) hit the surface of the cells and the light energy is quickly absorbed by the semiconductor material.  The incoming energy knocks electrons loose from the silicon, and when that …

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...