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This Montana County Wants to Crimp Bitcoin to Save the Earth

Missoula County, Montana, commissioners are expected to approve a resolution that would require bitcoin mines to offset their energy use with renewables.

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This Montana County Wants to Crimp Bitcoin to Save the Earth

Missoula County, Montana, commissioners are expected to approve a resolution that would require bitcoin mines to offset their energy use with renewables.

May 8

INNOVATION: Groovy new solar technology may be future of renewable energy

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The innovative 3D design removes many of the manufacturing process steps required by existing photovoltaics (PV) modules

By H S Rao

 

London: An innovative 3D solar-cell design with a radically different architecture which drives down the costs of cell manufacture may define the future of renewableenergy as it potentially reduces optical losses within a device, according to UK scientists.

The scientists at the University of Sheffield and energy technology company Power Roll in the UK have demonstrated how a unique architecture based on a surface embossed with micro-grooves could also make solar power more efficient.

The innovative 3D design removes many of the manufacturing process steps required by existing photovoltaics (PV) modules and allows new materials to be used that would not usually be appropriate in regular solar cells.

"There is global interest in using solar cells to generate low carbon, green electricity. The design of the back contacted solar module is both innovative and elegant, and can potentially reduce optical losses within the device," said professor David Lidzey from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield, who led the research.

"The devices we have demonstrated have a promising efficiency, whereby seven per cent of sunlight power falling onto a single photovoltaic micro-groove device is directly converted to electrical power, this is already around a third of what the best performing but expensive solar cells produce today," Lidzey said.

Power Roll predicts that solar modules produced using this design will weigh only a fraction of an equivalent-power conventional solar module which could benefit less developed and off grid areas of the world where it is not viable to transport heavy solar panels as well as a wide range of other applications.

Researchers said other benefits of the design include removal of expensive transparent conductive oxides, the use of simple and low cost electrical interconnections and the ability to tune electrical output to match user requirements.

"Over the last 40 years, the majority of solar cells have been based on a conventional flat structure, in which layers of different materials are deposited one upon another to create the solar cell," said Trevor McArdle, Senior Research Scientist at Power Roll.

"However, we have developed a radically different architecture to make solar cells using a surface patterned by micro-grooves that individually are a fraction of the width of a human hair, McArdle said.

The study was published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.

"We believe that our patented architecture is a game changer. The market opportunities for our solar PV product are significant, including off-grid solutions, commercial and domestic systems, powering the internet of things, portable power generation and military applications. This technology will deliver significant economic and social benefits to end users," said Neil Spann, CEO of Power Roll.

New Posts
  • Bridge to India report says the share of imported modules is still 90%, while domestic manufacturing is stagnating as developers wait for two-year duty period to end. BENGALURU: One year after India imposed an additional import duty on solar cells and modules to stimulate local production and reduce dependence on imports, no new domestic manufacturing unit has been set up, according to a renewable energy consultancy firm. India imposed a safeguard duty in July 2018 for two years. The duty was pegged at 25% for the first year, 20% for the next six months, and 15% for the last six-month period. Before it was imposed, around 90% of solar panels and modules used in local solar projects were imported, mostly from China and Malaysia, as they were cheaper than locally manufactured ones. The imposition of safeguard duty has not changed the situation. “Share of imported modules in utility scale solar still hovers around the 90% mark, consistent with the preceding years,” said Bridge to India in a recent weekly report on the solar industry. “Share of imported modules in utility scale solar still hovers around the 90% mark, consistent with the preceding years,” said Bridge to India in a recent weekly report on the solar industry. The report noted that local manufacturing remained in dire straits. “Most of the cell manufacturers have indeed shut down and module manufacturers are operating at low capacity utilisation and/or betting on exports.” As electricity distribution companies insist on driving down solar power tariffs and, at times, cancelling solar auctions if the discovered tariff is too high, developers appear to be waiting for the duty’s two-year limit to pass rather than pay more for local solar cells and modules. Existing units also claim they are not getting better prices. “We are not selling our modules at a better rate as a result of safeguard duty imposition,” said Amit Gupta, director of legal and corporate affairs at Vikram Solar, a large solar module manufacturer. “After one year, the situation is even worse than before because the new projects which are being allotted now have a completion period of 15 months, which means bids are taking place without taking the duty into consideration.” Six months ago, ET reported that no new investments had been made. “The implementation period of two years is too short to attract new manufacturing investments,” Bridge  .. Read more at: //economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/70634317.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
  • Dye-sensitised solar cells hold a lot of promise because of possible cost and environmental benefits A novel process to improve the performance of Dye-Sensitised Solar Cells (DSSC) has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. Dye-sensitised solar cells hold a lot of promise because of possible cost and environmental benefits. But, they have low light-to-power conversion efficiency. The new process, published in the journal Solar Energy,  promises to enhance the efficiency. “A dye molecule absorbs the light energy in DSSC and causes electrons in the dye to jump to titania and then to the external circuit, which causes a flow of electrons, leading to a current,” said Jammalamadaka Suryanarayana, who led the research team. The first-generation silicon-based cells with energy harvesting efficiency of about 26 per cent continue to be costly. Second-generation thin film solar cells based on semiconductors like cadmium-telluride and cadmium-selenide have comparable efficiencies, and not much lower cost. The third generation of dye-sensitised solar cells can significantly lower costs of solar cells while being environment-friendly. But, their efficiencies need improvement to translate to practical products. In the study, the researchers initially tried introducing holmium oxide, a powerful paramagnetic material, into the anode of the cell and by applying external magnetic fields. The experiment showed an enhancement in efficiency. However, application of external magnetic field can be power-consuming because electromagnets themselves require energy for their functioning. The team consequently replaced holmium oxide with iron oxide magnetic nanoparticles since it produced a magnetic field internally. The result was as good. ( India Science Wire )
  • Electricity produced by cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic modules is the lowest-cost electricity in the solar industry, and now undercuts fossil fuel-based sources in many regions of the world. This is due to recent efficiency gains brought about by alloying selenium into the CdTe absorber, which has taken cell efficiency from 19.5% to its current record of 22.1%. Although the addition of selenium is known to reduce the bandgap of the absorber material, and hence increase the cell short-circuit current, this effect alone does not explain the performance improvement. Here, by means of cathodoluminescence and secondary ion mass spectrometry, we show that selenium enables higher luminescence efficiency and longer diffusion lengths in the alloyed material, indicating that selenium passivates critical defects in the bulk of the absorber layer. This passivation effect explains the record-breaking performance of selenium-alloyed CdTe devices, and provides a route for further efficiency improvement that can result in even lower costs for solar-generated electricity.

Latest News

author

This Montana County Wants to Crimp Bitcoin to Save the Earth

Missoula County, Montana, commissioners are expected to approve a resolution that would require bitcoin mines to offset their energy use with renewables.

author

This Montana County Wants to Crimp Bitcoin to Save the Earth

Tesla and Elon Musk haven't been fans of people short-selling company stock ( earlier talk of going private was partly a response to that), but they apparently have extra reason to be worried about one short seller in particular. The EV maker has obtained a t…

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