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Thread: From experiment to solar cell

  1. #1
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    Default From experiment to solar cell

    From the experiment to solar cells

    When the electron returns to the molecule, it releases energy in the form of light

    The experiment on NO2 helps understanding fundamental processes in molecules and is an ideal extension of computer simulations of photochemical processes: "What makes our experiment so important is that it verifies theoretical models," says Wörner. The immense interest in photochemical processes is not surprising, as this area of research aims at improving solar cells and making artificial photosynthesis possible.


    stay tuned

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    The research team irradiated nitrogen dioxide molecules (NO2) with a very short ultraviolet pulse. Subsequently, the molecule takes up the energy from the pulse which sets the electrons in motion. The electrons start rearranging themselves, which causes the electron cloud to oscillate between two different shapes for a very short time, before the molecule starts to vibrate and eventually decomposes into nitric oxide and an oxygen atom.

    Conical intersections

    Nitrogen dioxide has model character with respect to understanding electronic motion. In the NO2 molecule, two states of the electrons can have the same energy for a particular geometry -- commonly described as conical intersection. The conical intersection is very important for photochemistry and frequently occurs in natural chemical processes induced by light. The conical intersection works like a dip-switch. For example, if the retina of a human eye is irradiated by light, the electrons start moving, and the molecules of the retina (retinal) change their shape, which finally converts the information of light to electrical information for the human brain. The special aspect about conical intersections is that the motion of electrons is transferred to a motion of the atoms very efficiently
    i thought people would like to see the other part too

  3. Cool

    Solar power catchin' on...

    Solar power beginning to go mainstream
    Sun, Oct 30, 2011 - The solar power movement is gaining ground as a drop in solar panel prices and numerous government subsidies make the technology more affordable
    Solar energy may finally get its day in the sun. The high costs that for years made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are plummeting. Real-estate companies are racing to install solar panels on office buildings, utilities are erecting large solar panel “farms” near big cities and in desolate deserts and creative financing plans are making solar more realistic than ever for homes. Solar power installations doubled in the US last year and are expected to double again this year. More solar energy is being planned than any other power source, including nuclear, coal, natural gas and wind. “We are at the beginning of a turning point,” says Andrew Beebe, who runs global sales for Suntech Power Holdings Co (尚德), a manufacturer of solar panels.

    Solar’s share of the power business remains tiny, but its promise is great. The sun splashes more clean energy on the planet in one hour than humans use in a year, and daytime is when power is needed most. Moreover, solar panels can be installed near where people use power, reducing or eliminating the costs of moving power through a grid. Solar power has been held back by costs. It’s still about three times more expensive than electricity produced by natural gas, according to estimates by the US Energy Information Administration. However, the financial barriers are falling fast. Solar panel prices have plunged by two-thirds since 2008, making it easier for installers to market solar’s financial benefits and not simply its environmental ones. Homeowners who want to go solar can do so for free and pay the same or less for their power.

    Last month, two of the nation’s biggest utilities, Exelon Corp and NextEra Energy Inc, each acquired a large California solar power farm in the early stages of development. Another utility, NRG Energy Inc, has announced a plan with Bank of America and the real estate firm Prologis Inc to spend US$1.4 billion to install solar systems on 750 commercial rooftops. Nationwide, solar power installations grew by 102 percent from 2009 to last year, by far the fastest rate in the past five years. Making solar affordable still requires large tax breaks and other subsidies from federal and state governments. The main federal subsidy pays for 30 percent of the cost of a residential system. When state and other subsidies are added, as much as 75 percent of the cost can be covered.

    However, prices of solar panels, the squares of crystalline silicon or thin layers of metal films that turn the sun’s rays into electricity, are falling so fast that its advocates now credibly claim that solar will be able to compete with fossil fuels even when the federal solar subsidy shrinks by two-thirds in 2016. The falling prices have made it easier for solar installers to raise the money needed to grow. And they’ve made solar power systems so affordable they can appeal to homeowners who want to save on their electric bill, not just reduce their environmental impact. Some installers are teaming up with big hardware chains Home Depot and Lowe’s in an effort to expose solar to customers who might not otherwise consider it.

    See also:

    Japan uses old battleship part in alternative energy
    Mon, Oct 31, 2011 - SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES:A giant 70-year-old reflector is being used in a solar furnace in a town that was the birthplace of the Imperial Japanese Navy
    A spare searchlight reflector built for Japan’s legendary World War II battleship Yamato has been brought out of mothballs for peaceful use in the country’s search for new energy sources. The circular reflector, 1.5m across, has become part of a solar furnace, which converts sunlight into heat at Tohoku University’s facility on the southern island of Kyushu. The furnace in Hyuga city was recently shown to Japanese media, the English-language Jiji Press reported yesterday. “It fills me with emotion to think that we can make use of the reflector some 70 years after the war,” Yasuaki Kohama, a Tohoku University professor who headed the project, told the news agency.

    Yamato, the pride of the Japanese Imperial Navy, was sunk by US carrier-based bombers and torpedo bombers on April 7, 1945, while it was on its way to Okinawa to fight the Allied invasion just months before the country’s surrender. The 65,027-tonne vessel, 263m long, commissioned in December 1941, and its sister ship, the Musashi — were known as the heaviest and most powerfully armed battleships ever built. The reflector, estimated to be worth more than ¥100 million (US$1.3 million), had been stored in Nagoya by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. The solar furnace is in Hyuga’s Mimitsu district, which is regarded as the birthplace of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

    Legend has it that Emperor Jinmu, the mythical first monarch of Japan, led his naval force from Mimitsu in the 7th century BC on a mission to control a major province in western Japan. “I feel some connection,” Kohama was quoted as saying by Jiji. “I am deeply moved because we can convert a weapon into energy for peaceful use.” With the use of the solar furnace, the project aims to develop a new type of fuel cell that exploits the chemical reactions of magnesium, the report said. Researchers are planning to heat magnesium oxide to 1,200°C or higher to reduce it into magnesium for reuse in the battery. In the future, the researchers aim to launch a large-scale solar furnace project in the desert in northwestern Australia.


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    Solar power; good

  5. Thumbs up

    Would be a good idea for making mobile homes energy self-sufficient...

    Solar panels could double as a roof
    Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Researchers in Australia are developing a solar roof system that uses wasted energy to warm air and water.
    What distinguishes the project from other systems, the researchers say, is that the solar cells are integrated into the structural makeup of a building. So instead of being attached to a roof, the system actually becomes the roof, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The system evolved from a "low carbon living" project to investigate future energy efficiency initiatives while evaluating the effectiveness of current methods of generating solar power, said the researchers from the University of New South Wales. "Australia has this perception that we are blessed with limitless energy but by the time we have filtered it through the system and into buildings in the form of electricity, there is enormous waste. So we are gathering the data to make informed decisions about that,'' associate professor Alistair Sproul told the Herald.

    If solar panels are extra-durable, the researchers say, they can serve as roofing material. While solar cells on top of panels typically generate a significant amount of waste heat as a by-product, the researchers devised a way to harness it instead with an insulated space behind the panel, heating the air to 25 degrees Celsius. ''We want to take the building performance to the next level,'' said research leader Professor Deo Prasad. 'In the past we have had separate experts working on solar panels, on energy efficiency, water efficiency but what we are looking at now is total integration from the start.''

    The researchers are investigating the possibility of manufacturing the system in Australia and said a number of firms are monitoring their research with that in mind. ''A lot of lower-tech forms of photovoltaics seem to be finding their way into countries where there are cheaper labor costs, so we want to concentrate on developing these high-tech, high-end forms,'' Prasad said. Australia relies on coal to generate 80 percent of its electricity.

    Last year, roof-mounted solar panels in Australia for the first time competed favorably against peak-priced electricity from coal-fired power stations, Asian Scientist magazine reports. Solar photovoltaic panels cost around $1.07, compared to $3.75 per watt a few years ago. Separately, the future of southwest Queensland's proposed Solar Dawn $1.2 billion solar thermal plant appeared uncertain after it failed to meet a Dec. 15 deadline to compete financing but last week the government granted a six-month extension to its contract.

    Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Ene...#ixzz1mK6IqaKA

  6. Icon3

    'Blackhole of light' to be used in CSP plants...

    Solar's Future Looks Brighter
    October 30, 2014 ~ Scientists have created a new solar power material they call the “black hole of light” because it can absorb and convert to heat 90 percent of the sunlight it captures.
    A team of researchers at the University of California at San Diego developed the silicon boride-coated nanoshell material that can be used in concentrating solar power (CSP) plants, according to a news release. Researchers said the new material could increase the efficiency of CSPs by about 30 percent. CSP plants consist of thousands of mirrors, which reflect sunlight at a central tower covered in a light absorbing material. The concentrated light is converted to heat which can power a steam turbine that produces electricity. CSP power plants work by heating molten salt, which can be stored in thermal storage tanks and continue to produce energy even when it’s dark. This is a big advantage over photovoltaic cells, which stop producing energy at night.

    Researchers said one big advantage of their material is its durability: It withstands heat of over 700 degrees Celsius and can survive exposure to other elements. They added that the plants are more efficient at higher temperatures. Currently, CSP plants have to reapply sunlight absorption material about once a year, meaning the plant is not producing energy during the maintenance. The UC San Diego team says their material has a longer lifespan, adding they are “close to achieving” a material that will last for “many years.” CSP plants currently produce about 3.5 gigawatts of energy globally, which is enough to provide electrical power to more than 2 million homes. That number could rise to 20 gigawatts in coming years.

    A concentrating solar power plant in Primm, Nev., is seen in this file photo. The site uses over 300,000 mirrors to focus sunlight on boilers' tubes atop 450 foot power towers heating water into steam which in turn drives turbines to create electricity.

    There was also good news about solar power in a report released by Deutsche Bank this week, which said rooftop photovoltaic energy will be as cheap or cheaper than other sources of electricity in 47 U.S. states by as early as 2016. The report, written by Deutsche Bank’s leading solar energy analyst Vishal Shah, assumes the U.S. will continue a 30 percent tax credit on solar system costs. The credit it due to expire in 2016 as well. According to the report, even if the tax credit were to be cut by two thirds, solar power would still achieve parity with other forms of electricity in 36 states.

    Currently solar power costs the same as other sources of electricity in only 10 states. The report says the amount of electricity from solar panels in the U.S. could be 16 times greater in 2016 than it was in 2008. These trends in solar come at a time of dropping fossil fuel prices, which usually triggers a loss of interest in solar. Earlier this year the International Energy Agency said concentrating solar power plants could provide 11 percent of the world’s electricity by 2050. Photovoltaic systems could account for another 16 percent, the agency said. Currently, solar power accounts for less than one percent of the world’s electricity needs.


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