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Addition of quantum dots to solar cells gets dramatic resultsWith military colleagues, the UB researchers have shown that embedding charged quantum dots into photovoltaic cells can improve electrical output by enabling the cells to harvest infrared light, and by increasing the lifetime of photoelectrons. Electrical engineer Vladimir Mitin and colleagues have significantly increased the electrical output of solar cells by embedding charged quantum dots in them. Mitin, Sergeev and Vagidov have founded a company, OPtoElectronic Nanodevices LLC (OPEN LLC.), to bring the innovation to the market.
The UB researchers and their colleagues have not only successfully used embedded quantum dots to harvest infrared light; they have taken the technology a step further, employing selective doping so that quantum dots within the solar cell have a significant built-in charge. This built-in charge is beneficial because it repels electrons, forcing them to travel around the quantum dots. Otherwise, the quantum dots create a channel of recombination for electrons, in essence "capturing" moving electrons and preventing them from contributing to electric current. The technology has the potential to increase the efficiency of solar cells up to 45%, said Mitin, a SUNY Distinguished Professor. Through UB's Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach (STOR), he and his colleagues have filed provisional patent applications to protect their technology.
"Clean technology will really benefit the region, the state, the country," Mitin said. "With high-efficiency solar cells, consumers can save money and providers can have a smaller solar field that produces more energy." Mitin and his colleagues have already invested significant amounts of time in developing the quantum dots with a built-in-charge, dubbed "Q-BICs." To further enhance the technology and bring it to the market, OPEN LLC is now seeking funding from private investors and federal programs.By tweaking the smallest of parts, a trio of University at Buffalo engineers is hoping to dramatically increase the amount of sunlight that solar cells convert into electricity.
More like 14%. But they said they think they can get the efficiency up even higher with further research. And since it is cheap and can be applied to a wide variety of different type of solar cells, I think this has great potential.basil_hayden wrote:So we're up to 15% efficiency with photovoltaic cells?
Quantum dots with built-in charge boost solar cell efficiency by 50%For the 6-electron doping level, that 50% increase corresponds to an overall efficiency increase from 9.3% (for undoped solar cells) to 14%.
In addition, the researchers predict that further increasing the doping level will lead to an even stronger efficiency enhancement, since there was no evidence of saturation. In the future, the researchers plan to further investigate how these effects influence each other at higher doping levels. They predict that further increasing the doping level and radiation intensity will lead to an even stronger efficiency enhancement, since there was no evidence of saturation.
“The methodology and principles developed during this research are applicable to a number of photovoltaic devices with quantum dots and nanocrystals, such as polymer plastic cells and dye-sensitized porous metal oxide Gratzel cells,” Dr. Sergeev told PhysOrg.com. “Effective harvesting and conversion of infrared radiation due to optimized electron-hole kinetics in structures with quantum dots and nanocrystals will lead to potential breakthroughs in the area of solar energy conversion.”
DoD "quietly supporting research" into new solar quantum dot technologyBecause of their microscopic size, quantum dots (or “Q-dots”), at less than a nanometer wide, could provide an alternative production model for inexpensive, ultra-efficient solar cells. Q-dots are created in a chemical reaction that skirts the energy-intensive and expensive fabrication process required by the other dominant semiconductor in solar manufacturing currently, silicon.
Once more funding is available to complete the research, either on a federal level like the DoD is providing or from the private sector, the technology will be evaluated for mass production.
Solar3D, Inc. /quotes/zigman/624673 SLTD +13.33% , the developer of a breakthrough 3-dimensional solar cell technology to maximize the conversion of sunlight into electricity, today announced that it has completed a detailed simulation analysis comparing its breakthrough solar cell with conventional solar cells. The results reveal that the company’s breakthrough solar cell can produce 200% of the power output of conventional solar cells.
The company’s innovative single wafer silicon solar cell is based on a 3-dimensional design with two very powerful and unique patent-pending features: wide angle light collection and high conversion efficiency. The Solar3D cell has a special wide-angle feature on the surface that can capture more light in the morning and evening hours, as well as in the winter months when the sun is not directly overhead. The Solar3D cell also uses a 3-dimensional design to increase the electricity generation efficiency by trapping sunlight inside photovoltaic microstructures, which are etched into the wafer, where photons bounce around until they are converted into electrons. These two features are combined into a single solar cell design to deliver unprecedented performance. The results of the analysis can be found at: www.solar3d.com/technology.php .
Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D, commented, “Our development team believes we may have discovered the ultimate silicon solar cell design. One of the biggest challenges facing solar cells is light reflection. When sunlight hits conventional solar cells from off angles, the photons are simply reflected away. To make matters worse, the cells become dramatically less efficient if the sun is not shining within a narrow range of incident angles. Our breakthrough design dramatically reduces the effect of this problem.”
Solar3D has presented details of its proposed path to commercialisation of its 3-dimensional solar cell technology.
The company’s management believes that the 3D solar cell could enter the market next year.
“Our objective has always been to change the solar world by changing the economics of solar energy,” said Jim Nelson, CEO of Solar3D.
The company's solar cells are based on a 3-dimensional design with increased cell surface area. "This permits each solar cell to extract the maximum energy possible out of incident sunlight," said the company.
“There are many reasons to use renewable energy – but solar energy won’t be widely adopted until it is economically competitive with lower cost alternatives. We believe that our 3D solar cell will accomplish that,” said Nelson.
The company estimates that a typical 17% efficient solar cell performs more like a 5% efficient cell when light is shining 20 degrees from the side, such as during the morning or evening hours.
It claims that its cell can maintain its high 25% efficiency for a longer period of time and can generate 200% of the power output of conventional solar cells.
This is a great video Thomas recently passed on to me. Worth a watch, but ~40 minutes long, so you probably need to set aside some time for it. The whole video is great, but one note at the beginning was rather interesting to me — we are still “hunter-gatherers” in the field of energy. We still go out and collect the fuel we need to run our power plants and vehicles. Why not use the solar, wind, and water energy right in front of us? Duh.
The video (from a couple years ago) discusses solar around the world, but it also gives some detail on how the German solar energy revolution came about (mostly through the man Hermann Scheer).
Anyway, the whole video is worth a watch:
Solar3D has successfully developed an initial prototype of its three-dimensional (3D) solar cell with the help of Panasonic equipment. The company used its economical fabrication process to accurately make 3D light capturing and converting nanostructures over a silicon wafer.
Solar3D’s breakthrough single wafer silicon solar cell leverages a 3D design featuring two robust and innovative patent-pending aspects, wide-angle light collection and high conversion efficiency. The simulated design efficiency is more than 25% or roughly 50% more when compared to silicon solar cells available in the marketplace. The unique wide-angle light collection feature on the surface of the solar cell is capable of trapping more light during morning and evening hours, and also in the winter months.
This article, the first of a two-part series, will provide in-depth analysis on the solar industry. Despite the economic turmoil in Europe and thin margins in crystalline PV modules, the U.S. solar industry has shown a 120% YTD growth in 1H2012. PV modules, which convert sunlight into electricity, will prove to be a cheaper source of energy. In this piece, we are discussing industry dynamics, suppliers, and the competitive positioning of the solar industry; the second part will comprise the winning stocks of the industry.
The average selling price of solar panels has fallen by 15% YTD. The price of PV modules declined from 95 cents to 80 cents per watt from FY2011 till now. The industry is compromising on its profit margins to enhance sales growth in order to reduce its dependence on government subsidies. The decline in solar prices is more pronounced in Europe than in America. According to solar industry consulting firm, Solarbuzz, 80% of the demand for photovoltaic is coming from European markets. The major growth is coming from Germany, Italy and Spain, but this growth is in its maturity stage. Solar companies, to sustain such vibrant sales, are planning to focus on emerging solar markets like India, China and the U.S.
China is the world's largest producer of solar energy, with a power generation capacity of 2.75GW. According to Solarbuzz, China's solar-installed capacity will increase up to 5GW by the end of this year. Chinese companies have become competitive due to their cost efficiencies and low prices. But the U.S. government protects its domestic companies by imposing anti-dumping duties on imports of Chinese solar panels. The anti-dumping impact has hit Chinese companies like Trina Solar (TSL), which missed its earnings estimates and further decreased its guidance for the next quarter. The world's largest PV module producer, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE), missed its EPS by $0.22. Moreover, the Canadian company, Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), has also missed its revenue by $45 million. The recent fluctuations in oil prices hamake solar energy more competitive.
Gross profits of crystalline PV module manufacturers will decrease up to $0.09 in the 1Q of this year. As Figure 1 depicts below, the gap between price and cost has contracted over the last few years, primarily because of suppliers being unable to reduce their cost in response to module prices. The price of polysilicon, the basic raw material in module manufacturing, declined by about 90% since 2008, as showed in Figure 2. However, this decline was not as drastic as the decline in module prices. Due to the threat of low-cost Chinese solar panels, companies have been forced to reduce their prices to sustain their competitive positioning. So, going forward, the industry will maintain its competitive position, and its gross margins will further decrease to $0.07/W by the end of 2012, as revealed by IMS Research in the PV Modules, Cells, Wafers & Polysilicon - Supply & Demand Quarterly Report of 2012.
Solar ScamsWith massive incentives available from government subsidies, and investors ready to climb aboard the solar gravy train, now is a great time for the scam artists. The scammers hot-spot right now is CPV ...Concentrating Photo Voltaic. Simple idea which has been around for at least 30 years. Use magnifying lens or mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a small area of active material. Make solar power much cheaper, everyone is a winner. Or are they?
The solution adopted by many of the CPV start-ups is simple. They just CLAIM to have invented a breakthrough CPV device but produce no evidence whatsoever to prove that. They then go after the money. No CPV device is ever released for sale, there is always another excuse for the delay. Any person that questions the operation will be accused of being part of an energy invention suppression conspiracy. There are many shonky companies playing this game. To my knowledge there is not one single CPV company that has a product that is market ready and fully tested/certified. That is despite the fact that BILLIONS of dollars has been trousered by greedy company directors.
The SunCube: Coming in Spring 2010 from Helios SolarDec 31, 2009
The SunCube is a concentrating photovoltaic system — which magnifies sunlight and directs it onto solar cells — and is set up as a 300-watt module, with 30+ percent efficiency, which is almost double the efficiency of standard PV. SunCube is one of a growing number of CPV systems that have emerged on the market recently, including Solarmation, which is looking to make CPV more modular, Soliant Energy, SolFocus, and these 13 CPV players.
Helios plans to build one or more factories in Colorado and across the southwest, but is currently building its SunCubes in a plant in India and is looking for state funding The company says that each line at its Colorado factory will directly employ 180 staff and over a thousand indirectly. Vibrant Solar, also based in Denver in the same office space, will install the SunCubes in the southwest.
This is the latest chapter in the SUNCUBE SAGA.
No…the Suncubes are NOT on sale yet.
They do not have UL and IEC certification and there is no independent proof that they can meet their highly optimistic performance claims.
The standards required to meet IEC62108 are very demanding.
The CEO of Green and Gold Energy has a track record of pseudo scientific quackery….perpetual motion machines (Watson admits to mail fraud by non delivery), run your car on water tosh, and life extension mumbo jumbo.
The SunCube (or SunPube) has been promised any day now for at least 5 years. Not one single solitary SunCube has been sold ANYWHERE in the world.
It is simply a gigantic SOLAR PONZI scheme.
Like all PONZI/PYRAMID scheme….it will eventually come crashing down and it is the innocent small investors who will be the biggest losers.
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