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Solar and battery-based generator delivers electricity wherever you want
If you are looking to generate energy in a mobile or off-grid place, this most likely requires a petrol generator. These polluting generators are used pretty much on a daily basis by building companies, farmers, and festivals. And while it certainly does not help the environment, it is the only option, for now. Needless to say, they are far from environmentally friendly. It is mostly based on the decade-old car technology. Back then, there were no strict regulations regarding emissions. This allowed car manufacturers and other users of petrol generators to pollute freely. While they are decidedly not ‘green’, there is an added downside, as they are generally very noisy and user-unfriendly as well. This is not to mention the huge amount of fuel that it consumes. Now, Volta Energy has created an alternative! The Volta Naos is a solar and battery-based system that can power the same devices or machinery as used by builders, farmers, and festival organizers alike - all while not using any fuel. This makes the system more sustainable. On top of that, it is silent and more user-friendly. Oh, did we mention that it is also a lot cheaper to operate? The Volta Naos is a modular system. This means that it can be extended or reduced through clicking on an extra battery and solar module . The latter uses a sun tracking system to maximize yield, which is a great way of using renewable energy sources effectively. And no, this system is not massive and top-heavy either. Even better, it can be transported using a van or a trailer. Additionally, the system as a whole can be lifted by a person (in line with relevant ARBO legislation). All of this makes it the ideal successor of the old-fashioned generators. Volta Energy has just successfully finished its prototyping phase and is scaling up its production of Naos systems. The first customer, that effectively launched it, was a city in the direct vicinity of the company’s base. This summer, several systems were rented out to users who had previously only used petrol generators, which led to great and valuable feedback. For the next year, Volta Energy is looking to ‘green up’ as many festivals as possible. They aim to do so by matching the price of the system with the price of a petrol generator. As such, cost can no longer be the reason for not opting for the more sustainable solution. Currently, the rental website is under construction to fit it to this purpose, while more rental systems are set up and a renting corporation is put in place. All to be ready for what is to come! Interested in the company? Or are you interesting in renting the Volta Naos for the weekend? Find out more at www.volta-energy.com .  https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
If you are looking to generate energy in a mobile or off-grid place, this most likely requires a petrol generator. These polluting generators are used pretty much on a daily basis by building companies, farmers, and festivals. And while it certainly does not help the environment, it is the only option, for now. Needless to say, they are far from environmentally friendly. It is mostly based on the decade-old car technology. Back then, there were no strict regulations regarding emissions. This allowed car manufacturers and other users of petrol generators to pollute freely. While they are decidedly not ‘green’, there is an added downside, as they are generally very noisy and user-unfriendly as well. This is not to mention the huge amount of fuel that it consumes. Now, Volta Energy has created an alternative! The Volta Naos is a solar and battery-based system that can power the same devices or machinery as used by builders, farmers, and festival organizers alike - all while not using any fuel. This makes the system more sustainable. On top of that, it is silent and more user-friendly. Oh, did we mention that it is also a lot cheaper to operate? The Volta Naos is a modular system. This means that it can be extended or reduced through clicking on an extra battery and solar module . The latter uses a sun tracking system to maximize yield, which is a great way of using renewable energy sources effectively. And no, this system is not massive and top-heavy either. Even better, it can be transported using a van or a trailer. Additionally, the system as a whole can be lifted by a person (in line with relevant ARBO legislation). All of this makes it the ideal successor of the old-fashioned generators. Volta Energy has just successfully finished its prototyping phase and is scaling up its production of Naos systems. The first customer, that effectively launched it, was a city in the direct vicinity of the company’s base. This summer, several systems were rented out to users who had previously only used petrol generators, which led to great and valuable feedback. For the next year, Volta Energy is looking to ‘green up’ as many festivals as possible. They aim to do so by matching the price of the system with the price of a petrol generator. As such, cost can no longer be the reason for not opting for the more sustainable solution. Currently, the rental website is under construction to fit it to this purpose, while more rental systems are set up and a renting corporation is put in place. All to be ready for what is to come! Interested in the company? Or are you interesting in renting the Volta Naos for the weekend? Find out more at www.volta-energy.com .  https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy
Solar and battery-based generator delivers electricity wherever you want
Solar and battery-based generator delivers electricity wherever you want
Solar power without panels on your roof
The need for solar energy The urge for energy is getting bigger every day and the old fossils fuels are polluting and over time will run out. So why not start using solar power in a simple way. Thus, to be more sustainable and getting used to organize your live without gas, oil or coal generated energy To collect solar power by solar panels is not possible for everyone. For some its too expensive to buy panels, some have no roof to install them. And even when people have a roof it is not always pointing in the right direction. Fortunate there is still more and more small-scale techniques where solar cells are integrated. There are a lot of innovative ways to harvest solar power without the need of expensive solar panels. Solar powered bike If your bike is standing still it will be charged by solar cells. When in use, the battery and the solar cells will supply the energy for the engine when in motion. There are bikes which run on solar power and don’t require peddling because they run on the solar power which is absorbed. Solar bikes store the generated electricity in batteries. The stored electricity can be used to power the bike but it also can be used to charge small electric devices like: phones and tablets. Of course, phones are nowadays often used to navigate while biking. Solar Lights Lights and especially LED lights don't use a lot of electricity. Therefor it is not necessary to install solar panels. Many of these solar lights are used in developing countries, where there is no grid or if there is no money to install solar panels. Often it are lights combined with solar cells. They can be charged at daytime and some of the solar lights go on for ten hours. There are also solar lights which are specially developed for use outside. Some are even provided with a motion sensor which can be used for security. It only lights up when motion is detected. Solar Power Plug Its a small box which is portable. It can be mounted on a wall or window. There is an outlet where you can plug in electronical devices. The box itself exists out of solar cells and a battery. Because the box is portable you can take it anywhere the recharge your low voltage equipment. 'Power on the go'. Solar Powered Backpacks We all like to travel and because of all the electric gadgets we nowadays have we need also electricity. Some backpacks are provided with solar cells so you can carry your stuff and generate electricity at the same time. The backpacks are waterproof and you can charge your phone or tablet while 'on the move' There are also solar backpacks which have an integrated battery. So even in the evening you have electricity for a light and to get connected with the outside world. Solar Cookers Solar Cookers Cooking costs a lot of energy. Besides in many countries people still use wood or charcoal. Solar cookers make it possible to cook without using above or gas or electricity. There are many different kinds of solar cookers. Box cookers with solar panels on the side which absorb the heat. Photo by: Hans van der Broek The parabola designed cookers are very efficient. You put a pan in the centre of the mirror and all solar energy gets concentred in the middle where the pan with water or food is. With a little sun it will start cooking already very fast. You also can put a metal plate in the centre for barbequing. Cooking generally cost an enormous amount of energy and using these solar cookers saves lots of electric energy, gas and wood. So, no use of fossil fuels, less pollution and thus better for the environment. Photo by: Hans van der Broek Solar Water Heaters There are solar water heaters in all kind of versions and sizes. There are which have oil or water filled tubes. The oil filled tubes stay longer warm and their heat release lasts longer. When mounted on a roof in the sun it will generate hot water as long as the sun shines. Its already common use in tropical countries for industrial and residential use. Portable Solar Generator If you need more electricity than just for charging your phone or tablet you can buy a solar generator. You can combine this generator with small solar panels. Together you have a powerful self-sufficient electricity system. Of course, the unite are supplied with different outputs from USB to 2020 Volt. Lights, electric tools, cool-boxes, laptops, smartphones and other equipment can be supplied with energy with this 'portable socket' Solar Powered Water Pumps Solar water pumps are ideal to use in remote areas. There are portable ones and pumps which can be fitted permanently. With these pumps it is not necessary to install wiring which can be dangerous in certain situations and expensive. Of course, the ones with only solar panels stop at sunset but the ones with a battery can run up to five hours after being charged fully at daytime. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/solar
The need for solar energy The urge for energy is getting bigger every day and the old fossils fuels are polluting and over time will run out. So why not start using solar power in a simple way. Thus, to be more sustainable and getting used to organize your live without gas, oil or coal generated energy To collect solar power by solar panels is not possible for everyone. For some its too expensive to buy panels, some have no roof to install them. And even when people have a roof it is not always pointing in the right direction. Fortunate there is still more and more small-scale techniques where solar cells are integrated. There are a lot of innovative ways to harvest solar power without the need of expensive solar panels. Solar powered bike If your bike is standing still it will be charged by solar cells. When in use, the battery and the solar cells will supply the energy for the engine when in motion. There are bikes which run on solar power and don’t require peddling because they run on the solar power which is absorbed. Solar bikes store the generated electricity in batteries. The stored electricity can be used to power the bike but it also can be used to charge small electric devices like: phones and tablets. Of course, phones are nowadays often used to navigate while biking. Solar Lights Lights and especially LED lights don't use a lot of electricity. Therefor it is not necessary to install solar panels. Many of these solar lights are used in developing countries, where there is no grid or if there is no money to install solar panels. Often it are lights combined with solar cells. They can be charged at daytime and some of the solar lights go on for ten hours. There are also solar lights which are specially developed for use outside. Some are even provided with a motion sensor which can be used for security. It only lights up when motion is detected. Solar Power Plug Its a small box which is portable. It can be mounted on a wall or window. There is an outlet where you can plug in electronical devices. The box itself exists out of solar cells and a battery. Because the box is portable you can take it anywhere the recharge your low voltage equipment. 'Power on the go'. Solar Powered Backpacks We all like to travel and because of all the electric gadgets we nowadays have we need also electricity. Some backpacks are provided with solar cells so you can carry your stuff and generate electricity at the same time. The backpacks are waterproof and you can charge your phone or tablet while 'on the move' There are also solar backpacks which have an integrated battery. So even in the evening you have electricity for a light and to get connected with the outside world. Solar Cookers Solar Cookers Cooking costs a lot of energy. Besides in many countries people still use wood or charcoal. Solar cookers make it possible to cook without using above or gas or electricity. There are many different kinds of solar cookers. Box cookers with solar panels on the side which absorb the heat. Photo by: Hans van der Broek The parabola designed cookers are very efficient. You put a pan in the centre of the mirror and all solar energy gets concentred in the middle where the pan with water or food is. With a little sun it will start cooking already very fast. You also can put a metal plate in the centre for barbequing. Cooking generally cost an enormous amount of energy and using these solar cookers saves lots of electric energy, gas and wood. So, no use of fossil fuels, less pollution and thus better for the environment. Photo by: Hans van der Broek Solar Water Heaters There are solar water heaters in all kind of versions and sizes. There are which have oil or water filled tubes. The oil filled tubes stay longer warm and their heat release lasts longer. When mounted on a roof in the sun it will generate hot water as long as the sun shines. Its already common use in tropical countries for industrial and residential use. Portable Solar Generator If you need more electricity than just for charging your phone or tablet you can buy a solar generator. You can combine this generator with small solar panels. Together you have a powerful self-sufficient electricity system. Of course, the unite are supplied with different outputs from USB to 2020 Volt. Lights, electric tools, cool-boxes, laptops, smartphones and other equipment can be supplied with energy with this 'portable socket' Solar Powered Water Pumps Solar water pumps are ideal to use in remote areas. There are portable ones and pumps which can be fitted permanently. With these pumps it is not necessary to install wiring which can be dangerous in certain situations and expensive. Of course, the ones with only solar panels stop at sunset but the ones with a battery can run up to five hours after being charged fully at daytime. https://www.whatsorb.com/solution/energy/solar
Solar power without panels on your roof
Solar power without panels on your roof
The sun is strong enough to let solar panels shine
The Dutch sun is strong enough for roofs to generate electricity The Netherlands might be known for wooden shoes and beautiful flowers yet Michiel Mensink went a different direction. His start-up Exasun will make the nation known for its sunlight based panels. Since Michiel and Jan Jaap van Os established Exasun in 2012, they've created solar panels that are no less than twice as strong as customary sun powered panels, produce more electricity for less money and they look better. Made in the Netherlands. Sustainability has always been a passion for us," says Michiel, who has known Jan Jaap since meeting him in college more than 20 years ago. "Our objective was to make panels that make solar panels less expensive than the use of coal. The considerable thing is that we're near that goal now." Presently Exasun will have the capacity to step up its production five-fold on account of a multi-million-euro investment from 2 Dutch banks and a Dutch government innovation fund . Panels, tiles and rooftops Photo by: Jonathan Mast "Exasun offers a stylishly and monetarily appealing answer for putting homes and structures in the Netherlands and Europe on more sustainable footing." Other than solar panels, Exasun makes solar rooftop tiles. These come in dark and orange-red and can be introduced between existing rooftop tiles, which is normal for Dutch homes.  Another item is a whole sunlight based board rooftop, utilized as a part of recently fabricated homes. These are both more proficient and more pleasant looking options for customary solar panels. The whole rooftop is comprised of Exasun's sun based panels. "Current sunlight based modules are regularly somewhat ugly," said Michiel. "Our items have a greatly improved appearance, you don't see they're sunlight based modules. They additionally last longer than some other modules, as they're more robust against flame and hail." It took four to five years of innovative work to get this head begin, said Michiel. Presently, Exasun will utilize the venture to present a completely mechanized production line in the not so distant future, with a five-fold increased production capacity. The capacity will be scaled up more in 2019. "I trust Exasun will turn into a commonly recognized name in Europe for individuals who need the best answer for sun oriented on their rooftop or building." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy https://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/Tulips-windmills-and...-solar-panels.htm Cover photo by: Aquiles Carattino
The Dutch sun is strong enough for roofs to generate electricity The Netherlands might be known for wooden shoes and beautiful flowers yet Michiel Mensink went a different direction. His start-up Exasun will make the nation known for its sunlight based panels. Since Michiel and Jan Jaap van Os established Exasun in 2012, they've created solar panels that are no less than twice as strong as customary sun powered panels, produce more electricity for less money and they look better. Made in the Netherlands. Sustainability has always been a passion for us," says Michiel, who has known Jan Jaap since meeting him in college more than 20 years ago. "Our objective was to make panels that make solar panels less expensive than the use of coal. The considerable thing is that we're near that goal now." Presently Exasun will have the capacity to step up its production five-fold on account of a multi-million-euro investment from 2 Dutch banks and a Dutch government innovation fund . Panels, tiles and rooftops Photo by: Jonathan Mast "Exasun offers a stylishly and monetarily appealing answer for putting homes and structures in the Netherlands and Europe on more sustainable footing." Other than solar panels, Exasun makes solar rooftop tiles. These come in dark and orange-red and can be introduced between existing rooftop tiles, which is normal for Dutch homes.  Another item is a whole sunlight based board rooftop, utilized as a part of recently fabricated homes. These are both more proficient and more pleasant looking options for customary solar panels. The whole rooftop is comprised of Exasun's sun based panels. "Current sunlight based modules are regularly somewhat ugly," said Michiel. "Our items have a greatly improved appearance, you don't see they're sunlight based modules. They additionally last longer than some other modules, as they're more robust against flame and hail." It took four to five years of innovative work to get this head begin, said Michiel. Presently, Exasun will utilize the venture to present a completely mechanized production line in the not so distant future, with a five-fold increased production capacity. The capacity will be scaled up more in 2019. "I trust Exasun will turn into a commonly recognized name in Europe for individuals who need the best answer for sun oriented on their rooftop or building." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy https://www.ing.com/Newsroom/All-news/Tulips-windmills-and...-solar-panels.htm Cover photo by: Aquiles Carattino
The sun is strong enough to let solar panels shine
Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy
The sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, steals millions of green-colored plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, from algae. The sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, steals millions of green-colored plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, from algae. Credit: Karen N. Pelletreau/University of Maine In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick and other scientists. "It's a remarkable feat because it's highly unusual for an animal to behave like a plant and survive solely on photosynthesis," said Debashish Bhattacharya, senior author of the study and distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers-New Brunswick. "The broader implication is in the field of artificial photosynthesis. That is, if we can figure out how the slug maintains stolen, isolated plastids to fix carbon without the plant nucleus, then maybe we can also harness isolated plastids for eternity as green machines to create bioproducts or energy. The existing paradigm is that to make green energy, we need the plant or alga to run the photosynthetic organelle, but the slug shows us that this does not have to be the case." The sea slug Elysia chlorotica, a mollusk that can grow to more than 2 inches long, has been found in the intertidal zone between Nova Scotia, Canada, and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, as well as in Florida. Juvenile sea slugs eat the nontoxic brown alga Vaucheria litorea and become photosynthetic - or solar-powered - after stealing millions of algal plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, and storing them in their gut lining, according to the study published online in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. This microscopic image shows stolen algal plastids (in green) and lipids from algae (in yellow) inside the sea slug's digestive system. Credit: Karen N. Pelletreau/University of Maine Photosynthesis is when algae and plants use sunlight to create chemical energy (sugars) from carbon dioxide and water. The brown alga's plastids are photosynthetic organelles (like the organs in animals and people) with chlorophyll, a green pigment that absorbs light. This particular alga is an ideal food source because it does not have walls between adjoining cells in its body and is essentially a long tube loaded with nuclei and plastids, Bhattacharya said. "When the sea slug makes a hole in the outer cell wall, it can suck out the cell contents and gather all of the algal plastids at once," he said. Based on studies of other sea slugs, some scientists have argued that they steal and store plastids as food to be digested during hard times, like camels that store fat in their humps, Bhattacharya said. This study showed that's not the case for solar-powered Elysia chlorotica. Video of the sea slug Elysia chlorotica by Mary S. Tyler and Mary E. Rumpho "It has this remarkable ability to steal these algal plastids, stop feeding and survive off the photosynthesis from the algae for the next six to eight months," he said. The team of Rutgers and other scientists used RNA sequencing (gene expression) to test their solar energy supply hypothesis. The data show that the slug responds actively to the stolen plastids by protecting them from digestion and turning on animal genes to utilize the algal photosynthetic products. Their findings mirror those found in corals that maintain dinoflagellates (also algae) - as intact cells and not stolen plastids - in symbiotic relationships. Whereas Elysia chlorotica stores plastids, the algal nuclei that are also sucked in don't survive, and scientists still don't know how the sea slug maintains the plastids and photosynthesis for months without the nuclei that are normally needed to control their function, Bhattacharya said. By Todd B. Bates, Rutgers University Cover photo: Elysia chlorotica. Photo: Patrick J. Krug. Source: Evolution Happens
The sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, steals millions of green-colored plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, from algae. The sea slug, Elysia chlorotica, steals millions of green-colored plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, from algae. Credit: Karen N. Pelletreau/University of Maine In an amazing achievement akin to adding solar panels to your body, a Northeast sea slug sucks raw materials from algae to provide its lifetime supply of solar-powered energy, according to a study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick and other scientists. "It's a remarkable feat because it's highly unusual for an animal to behave like a plant and survive solely on photosynthesis," said Debashish Bhattacharya, senior author of the study and distinguished professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology at Rutgers-New Brunswick. "The broader implication is in the field of artificial photosynthesis. That is, if we can figure out how the slug maintains stolen, isolated plastids to fix carbon without the plant nucleus, then maybe we can also harness isolated plastids for eternity as green machines to create bioproducts or energy. The existing paradigm is that to make green energy, we need the plant or alga to run the photosynthetic organelle, but the slug shows us that this does not have to be the case." The sea slug Elysia chlorotica, a mollusk that can grow to more than 2 inches long, has been found in the intertidal zone between Nova Scotia, Canada, and Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, as well as in Florida. Juvenile sea slugs eat the nontoxic brown alga Vaucheria litorea and become photosynthetic - or solar-powered - after stealing millions of algal plastids, which are like tiny solar panels, and storing them in their gut lining, according to the study published online in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution. This microscopic image shows stolen algal plastids (in green) and lipids from algae (in yellow) inside the sea slug's digestive system. Credit: Karen N. Pelletreau/University of Maine Photosynthesis is when algae and plants use sunlight to create chemical energy (sugars) from carbon dioxide and water. The brown alga's plastids are photosynthetic organelles (like the organs in animals and people) with chlorophyll, a green pigment that absorbs light. This particular alga is an ideal food source because it does not have walls between adjoining cells in its body and is essentially a long tube loaded with nuclei and plastids, Bhattacharya said. "When the sea slug makes a hole in the outer cell wall, it can suck out the cell contents and gather all of the algal plastids at once," he said. Based on studies of other sea slugs, some scientists have argued that they steal and store plastids as food to be digested during hard times, like camels that store fat in their humps, Bhattacharya said. This study showed that's not the case for solar-powered Elysia chlorotica. Video of the sea slug Elysia chlorotica by Mary S. Tyler and Mary E. Rumpho "It has this remarkable ability to steal these algal plastids, stop feeding and survive off the photosynthesis from the algae for the next six to eight months," he said. The team of Rutgers and other scientists used RNA sequencing (gene expression) to test their solar energy supply hypothesis. The data show that the slug responds actively to the stolen plastids by protecting them from digestion and turning on animal genes to utilize the algal photosynthetic products. Their findings mirror those found in corals that maintain dinoflagellates (also algae) - as intact cells and not stolen plastids - in symbiotic relationships. Whereas Elysia chlorotica stores plastids, the algal nuclei that are also sucked in don't survive, and scientists still don't know how the sea slug maintains the plastids and photosynthesis for months without the nuclei that are normally needed to control their function, Bhattacharya said. By Todd B. Bates, Rutgers University Cover photo: Elysia chlorotica. Photo: Patrick J. Krug. Source: Evolution Happens
Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy
Solar powered sea slugs shed light on search for perpetual green energy
Organic solar cells achieve 15 percent more efficiency
Organic Solar Cells In an advance that makes a more flexible, inexpensive type of solar cell commercially viable, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated organic solar cells that can achieve 15 percent efficiency. This level of efficiency is in the range of many solar panels, or photovoltaics, currently on the market. "Organic photovoltaics can potentially cut way down on the total solar energy system cost, making solar a truly ubiquitous clean energy source," said Stephen Forrest, the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering, who led the work. At 15 percent efficiency and given a 20-year lifetime, researchers estimate organic solar cells could produce electricity at a cost of less than 7 cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. was 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Organic solar cells incorporate carbon into their construction to offer several advantages over conventional "inorganic" cells. Silicon-based inorganic solar panels are costly to make--composed of thick, rigid sheets that require fixed installation points. But carbon-based organic solar cells could be inexpensively manufactured in rolls that are thin enough to bend and curve around structures or within clothing, and made any color, even transparent, to blend in to their environment. Despite these advantages, organic solar cells have lacked the efficiency required to compete with conventional energy sources. "For the last couple of years, efficiency for organic photovoltaics was stuck around 11 to 12 percent," said Xiaozhou Che, a doctoral candidate in the Applied Physics Program and first author of a new study published in Nature Energy To break them out of this rut, the researchers combined multiple advancements in design and process. First, they designed a system that combines specialized layers to absorb both visible and infrared light. Essentially they stacked two organic solar cells, one capable of absorbing light from the visible spectrum starting at 350 nanometers in wavelength, and another capable of absorbing near-infrared light up to 950 nanometers in wavelength. "By themselves, the cells achieve 10- to 11-percent efficiency," Che said. "When we stack them together, we increase light absorption and efficiency improves to 15 percent with an antireflection coating." Stacking the cells required a breakthrough in process. The team developed interconnecting layers that prevent damage to the first cell, and still allow light and electrical charges to pass through. "That's considered a difficult process because there's a chance the liquid used in processing the top cell will dissolve the layers already deposited underneath," Che said. Finally, the team demonstrated that their new design, materials and process have a high fabrication yield of over 95 percent. This means the researchers successfully created almost all devices without short circuits, and is important for scaling up fabrication to an industrial level. Despite setting record efficiency, the team believes they can push their progress even further. "We can improve the light absorption to increase electric current, and minimize the energy loss to increase voltage," Che said. "Based on calculations, an 18-percent efficiency is expected in the near future for this type of multijunction device." {youtube} By: Michigan Engineering
Organic Solar Cells In an advance that makes a more flexible, inexpensive type of solar cell commercially viable, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated organic solar cells that can achieve 15 percent efficiency. This level of efficiency is in the range of many solar panels, or photovoltaics, currently on the market. "Organic photovoltaics can potentially cut way down on the total solar energy system cost, making solar a truly ubiquitous clean energy source," said Stephen Forrest, the Peter A. Franken Distinguished University Professor of Engineering and Paul G. Goebel Professor of Engineering, who led the work. At 15 percent efficiency and given a 20-year lifetime, researchers estimate organic solar cells could produce electricity at a cost of less than 7 cents per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, the average cost of electricity in the U.S. was 10.5 cents per kilowatt-hour in 2017, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Organic solar cells incorporate carbon into their construction to offer several advantages over conventional "inorganic" cells. Silicon-based inorganic solar panels are costly to make--composed of thick, rigid sheets that require fixed installation points. But carbon-based organic solar cells could be inexpensively manufactured in rolls that are thin enough to bend and curve around structures or within clothing, and made any color, even transparent, to blend in to their environment. Despite these advantages, organic solar cells have lacked the efficiency required to compete with conventional energy sources. "For the last couple of years, efficiency for organic photovoltaics was stuck around 11 to 12 percent," said Xiaozhou Che, a doctoral candidate in the Applied Physics Program and first author of a new study published in Nature Energy To break them out of this rut, the researchers combined multiple advancements in design and process. First, they designed a system that combines specialized layers to absorb both visible and infrared light. Essentially they stacked two organic solar cells, one capable of absorbing light from the visible spectrum starting at 350 nanometers in wavelength, and another capable of absorbing near-infrared light up to 950 nanometers in wavelength. "By themselves, the cells achieve 10- to 11-percent efficiency," Che said. "When we stack them together, we increase light absorption and efficiency improves to 15 percent with an antireflection coating." Stacking the cells required a breakthrough in process. The team developed interconnecting layers that prevent damage to the first cell, and still allow light and electrical charges to pass through. "That's considered a difficult process because there's a chance the liquid used in processing the top cell will dissolve the layers already deposited underneath," Che said. Finally, the team demonstrated that their new design, materials and process have a high fabrication yield of over 95 percent. This means the researchers successfully created almost all devices without short circuits, and is important for scaling up fabrication to an industrial level. Despite setting record efficiency, the team believes they can push their progress even further. "We can improve the light absorption to increase electric current, and minimize the energy loss to increase voltage," Che said. "Based on calculations, an 18-percent efficiency is expected in the near future for this type of multijunction device." {youtube} By: Michigan Engineering
Organic solar cells achieve 15 percent more efficiency
Energy

The demand for energy is great and will only grow further in the coming years. We have already learned how to harvest the power of sunlight, wind and tides, but there are many forms of sustainable energy yet to be explored. We will bring you up-to-date on the latest progress in the search of renewable energy and other sustainable energy sources.

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