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ENERGY NEWS
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Solar Cell Fabrication Technique Uses Impure Silicon
TRONDHEIM, Norway, Oct. 30, 2014 — Less-expensive raw materials in lower quantities could mean fewer production steps in manufacturing solar panels — and potentially lower energy consumption. A team from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) has developed a new processing technique that uses about 1000 times less pure silicon and about two-thirds less energy than traditional solar cell fabrication methods. It is based on an emerging design called vertical rod radial junction. The...

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QD Vision Wins Green Chemistry Challenge
LEXINGTON, Mass., Oct. 20, 2014 — QD Vision Inc. has received the 2014 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for its approach to quantum dot technology for energy-efficient commercial display and lighting products. The designation, awarded by the U.S. Environmental...
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Magnetic Mirror Reflects Light in New Ways
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Oct. 16, 2014 — A new magnetic mirror uses non-metallic metamaterial properties to reflect IR light. Scientists at Sandia National Laboratories developed the magnetic mirror by placing nanoscale antennas at or very near the mirror’s surface, thereby...

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Carbon Nanotube-Based Lights More Efficient than LEDs
SENDAI, Japan, Oct. 15, 2014 — A new carbon nanotube-based light source touts power consumption that is about a hundred times lower than that of an LED. A team from Tohoku University developed the new light source, which uses around 0.1 W for every hour of operation....
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Solar Cell Stores Energy, Too
COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2014 — Solar cells could soon double as rechargeable batteries, greatly enhancing their power and efficiency. Developed by a team at The Ohio State University, a new hybrid device combines a battery with a solar cell. The researchers said the new...

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Nanopillars Enhance Solar Efficiency
AMHERST, Mass., Oct. 3, 2014 — Mimicking the highly efficient light-harvesting structures of blades of grass could boost power-conversion efficiency in solar panels. “For decades, scientists and engineers have placed great effort in trying to control the morphology...
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Thermophotovoltaic System Exhibits Better Absorption
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 1, 2014 — A 2-D photonic crystal could prove key in advancing the absorption and use of solar energy. The new material, developed by researchers at MIT, is a metallic-dielectric crystal that absorbs sunlight from a wide range of angles and can...

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Ultrathin Films Color Rough, Flexible Surfaces
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 2, 2014 — Researchers can now “paint” rough, flexible surfaces through the phenomenon of thin-film interference. A team at Harvard University demonstrated that ultrathin optical coatings can display strong optical interference effects on...
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Gold Nanoclusters Enhance Solar Power
LONDON, Ontario, Canada, Sept. 30, 2014 — Gold nanoclusters could improve solar cell performance by more than 10 percent. A nanocluster made of just 144 gold atoms was used as a building block in the creation of a flexible network of plasmonic antennas that attracted extra light to...

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Plessey Expands with In-House LED Assembly Line
PLYMOUTH, England, Sept. 29, 2014 — Plessey is expanding its facility here to include a new LED assembly line. This addition will allow the company to focus on its high-brightness LEDs for solid-state lighting and sensing. The expansion will cut production time and enable...
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Inorganic Semiconductors Guide New Optoelectronic Devices
SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 22, 2014 — Inorganic compound semiconductors could potentially replace those developed with organic materials. A research team from Seoul National University (SNU) has grown gallium nitride (GaN) microrods on graphene substrates, which may ultimately...

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New Polymer Mix Crafts More Efficient Solar Cells
CHICAGO and LEMONT, Ill., Sept. 22, 2014 — An enhanced polymer-based device could boost solar power generation and improve the efficiency of solar cells. The new device, developed by a team from the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering in collaboration...
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Tunable MoS2 Light Emitters Make Better Chips
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 23, 2014 — MoS2-based light emitters have the potential to help create powerful, yet energy efficient optoelectronic chips. A team at MIT has developed a new theoretical framework for building optoelectronic chips using MoS2 (molybdenum disulfide) as...

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‘Electrode Barrier’ Broken for Organic Solar Cells
AMHERST, Mass., Sept. 19, 2014 — A new organic solar cell has broken the “electrode barrier” known to hamper efforts to enhance efficiency. A team from the University of Massachusetts Amherst developed the cell, which can use virtually any metal as the...
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Nuclear Spins Boost Electric Current in OLEDs
SALT LAKE CITY, Sept. 19, 2014 — A spintronic approach has been used to power plastic organic LEDs at room temperature and without strong magnetic fields. “We have shown we can use room-temperature, plastic electronic devices that allow us to see the orientation of...

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Video: Battery Lead Gains New Life in Solar Panels
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 8, 2014 — Dead auto batteries may be able to keep on truckin’ as long-lasting solar panels. Researchers at MIT are developing a system based on organolead halide perovskite, a technology that uses lead from raw ores in solar cell manufacturing....
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Carbon Nanotubes Get Better as Solar Cells
EVANSTON, Ill., Sept. 4, 2014 — A new type of carbon nanotube has taken a “big jump” beyond its predecessors in solar cell applications. Single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNT), developed by a team from Northwestern University’s McCormick School of...

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Polymers Bring Future Solar Cells
LEIOA, Spain, Sept. 4, 2014 — A polymer-based technique could lead to production of highly efficient solar cells. A team from IK4-Ikerlan and the University of the Basque Country used polymers that absorb light at different wavelengths to produce solar cells with a...
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Forecast: Worldwide Solar Capacity to Reach 66 GW by 2019
BOSTON, Aug. 26, 2014 — The global solar power industry will grow to a capacity of 65.6 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2019, with China at the forefront, the market analysis firm Lux Research predicts. Worldwide solar power capacity stood at a 37.5 GWp in 2013, meaning...

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Hydrogen Produced Using Photosynthetic Blueprint
CANBERRA, Australia, Aug. 26, 2014 — Researchers have artificially replicated steps of photosynthesis to produce hydrogen as a zero-carbon replacement for petroleum products. A team from Australian National University modified the naturally occurring protein ferritin to...
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Semi-Artificial Photovoltaics Surpassing Photosynthesis
BOCHUM, Germany, Aug. 22, 2014 — Semi-artificial leaves could function as photovoltaic systems, and with unprecedented performance. In leaves, the membrane protein complex photosystem I (PS I) absorbs light, and its energy is utilized for converting carbon dioxide into...

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Imaging Shows Bubbles Could Make Energy-Efficient Nanoparticles
PRINCETON, N.J., Aug. 20, 2014 — High-speed cameras and UV-sensitive materials are helping advance understanding of bubbles — which could mean big things for nanoparticles. In fact, a system in which bubbles mix liquids is an energy-efficient route toward producing...
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Spectroscopy Tests for Best Organic Photovoltaics
TSUKUBA, Japan, Aug. 19, 2014 — Spectroscopy may provide a way to identify materials for organic photovoltaics based on their charge formation efficiency. In a recent study of organic solar cells, a team at the University of Tsukuba and the National Institute for...

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Atwater and Polman Receive the Julius Springer Prize
BERLIN, Aug. 8, 2014 — Harry Atwater and Albert Polman received the annual Julius Springer Prize for Applied Physics; they were honored for their achievements in plasmonics and nanophotonics. Atwater and Polman have pioneered the use of metallic nanostructures...
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Highest Conversion Efficiency Reached
TEMPE, Ariz., Aug. 7, 2014 — First Solar Inc. announced it has set a record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic research cell conversion efficiency. The record has been documented in the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory "Best...






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