After 40 Years of Searching, Scientists Identify The Key Flaw in Solar Panel Efficiency

Science Alert  June 8, 2019 Silicon solar cells containing boron and oxygen are one of the most rapidly growing forms of electricity generation. However, they suffer from significant degradation during the initial stages of use. Using ab initio modeling, an international team of researchers (UK, Portugal, Belarus, Australia) proposes structures of the BsO2 defect which match the experimental findings. They argue that the dominant recombination process associated with degradation is trap-assisted Auger recombination. This assignment is supported by the observation of above bandgap luminescence due to hot carriers resulting from the Auger process…read more. Open Access TECHNICAL ARTICLE

Underwater power generation

Science Daily  May 13, 2019 Inspired by marine organisms that have switchable energy extraction modes (aerobic respiration for long‐term living or anaerobic respiration to propose instantaneously high output power for fast movement),researchers in China have designed an auto‐switchable dual‐mode seawater energy extraction system to provide high energy density and power density both by initiatively choosing different solutes in seawater as electron acceptors. The key to the discovery is a cathode made of Prussian blue, an open framework structure with cyanide ions as “struts” and iron ions as “nodes,” which can easily accept and release electrons. When combined with a metal […]

Printable nanogenerator creates electricity from snowfall

Nanowerk  April 15, 2019 An international team of researchers (Canada, USA – University of Connecticut, UCLA) has developed a snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator, or snow TENG. A triboelectric nanogenerator, which generates charge through static electricity, produces energy from the exchange of electrons. Snow is positively charged and silicone is negatively charged. When falling snow contacts the surface of silicone it produces a charge that the device captures, creating electricity. After testing a large number of materials including aluminum foils and Teflon, they found that silicone produces more charge than any other material. The research could usher in a new generation of […]

Sun-soaking device turns water into superheated steam

MIT News  December 11, 2018 Researchers at MIT have built and demonstrated a solar-driven evaporation system. Top layer of the system is a metal ceramic composite and the bottom layer was coated with a material that easily and efficiently emits infrared heat. A layer of reticulated carbon foam is sandwiched between the two layers. It retains the sun’s incoming heat and can further heat up the steam rising back up through the foam. A small outlet tube allows steam to exit. The structure absorbs solar radiation and re-radiates infrared photons, which are directly absorbed by the water within a sub-100 μm penetration […]

Emissions-free energy system saves heat from the summer sun for winter

Science Daily  October 3, 2018 Building on their previous discovery of a molecule which could store solar energy, an international team of researchers (Sweden, Spain) has made it possible for a liquid form of the molecule made from carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen to store energy. It could be adapted for use in a solar energy system, MOST (Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage). The energy in the isomer can be stored for up to 18 years. The research group has developed a catalyst for controlling the release of the stored energy. MOST works in a circular manner – the liquid captures […]

Nanoparticles Take Solar Desalination to New Heights

IEEE Spectrum  August 10, 2018 Researchers in China have demonstrated that by dispersing tellurium nanoparticles into water, the water evaporation rate is improved by a factor of three under solar radiation. This makes it possible to increase the water temperature from 29 degrees to 85 degrees Celsius within 100 seconds. The Te nanoparticles perform like a plasmonic nanoparticle when it is smaller than 120 nanometers and then as a high-index all-dielectric nanoparticle when those nanoparticles are larger than 120 nm as they have a wide size distribution (from 10 to 300 nm). This enhanced absorption can cover the whole solar […]