Hot Stuff

New Technology Increases Solar Efficiency




There is huge potential in solar power, but our current methods of capturing the sun’s energy are limited as widely used silicon solar cells approach their theoretical limit of 33.7 percent efficiency. Now a Princeton University research team has applied nanotechnology principles to incorporate a design that significantly increases their efficacy.

Led by Stephen Chou, the team has made two dramatic improvements: reducing reflectivity and more effectively capturing the light that isn’t reflected. The new solar cell is much thinner and less reflective, capturing many more light waves via a minute mesh and bouncing off only about 4 percent of direct sunlight. The new design is capable of capturing a large amount of sunlight even when it’s cloudy, producing an 81 percent increase in efficiency even under indirect lighting conditions.


Source: OpticsInfoBase.org

Edit ModuleShow Tags

More from Natural Awakenings

Renewable Payoff

For a few hours last May, Germany’s renewable mix of energy generated so much power that customers were actually paid for using electricity.

Sealife Sanctuary

Greenpeace is working with the European Union and Germany to set aside an Antarctic sanctuary of almost three-quarters of a million square miles to protect whales, penguins and other wildlife.

Plumbing Progress

An innovative Australian project recycles discarded ocean plastic into 3-D printer filament, which is then used to make replacement plumbing parts in needy areas of the world.

Urban Trees

Tree cover works to reduce depression, improve productivity and lessen disease, yet four million city trees a year are being lost due to their low priority in municipal budgets.

Tree Tally

By digitalizing photographs and other museum records, scientists are closing in on the number of tree species left to be discovered in the Amazon rainforest.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags