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Directory:Solar Innovations

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Directory of technologies and resources relating to Solar Innovations.

See Solar.

  • Nanotechnology >
    A Hybrid Nano-Energy Harvester - Researchers have combined a nanogenerator with a solar cell to create an integrated mechanical- and solar-energy-harvesting device. This hybrid generator might be used, e.g., to power airplane sensors by capturing sunlight as well as engine vibrations. (MIT Technology Review; April 09, 2009)
  • Kender Solar - Kender Solar Inc. has developed a brand new solar technology, able of producing 20 times more energy than a traditional solar panel. This performance is achieved by having the energy of the sun create a spinning motion of helium gas in a closed circuit. (PESWiki; March 5, 2009)

  • A Cheaper Solar Concentrator - The acrylic component from Morgan Solar called a Light-Guide Solar Optic (LSO), is a new type of solar concentrator that could significantly lower the cost of generating electricity from the sun and they expect commercial production to begin in 2010. (Slashdot) (MIT Technology Review; Feb. 20, 2009)
  • Sun-powered device converts CO2 into fuel - Powered only by natural sunlight, an array of nanotubes is able to convert a mixture of carbon dioxide and water vapour into natural gas at 20 times higher than with other nanotech methods. (New Scientist; Feb. 18, 2009)
  • Harvesting the sun's energy with antennas - Nanoantennas absorb energy in the infrared part of the spectrum and can take in energy from both sunlight and the earth's heat, with higher efficiency than conventional solar cells. Individual nanoantennas can absorb close to 80 percent of the available energy. (Idaho National Lab; Jan. 2008)
  • Hairy Solar Panels From Nanowire - Researchers have grown light-absorbing nanowires on carbon-nanotube fabric, made from exotic materials that can absorb more energy from the sun than silicon. The aim is to produce flexible, affordable solar cells that will achieve efficiency of 20% within five years, and 40% longer term. (TreeHugger; Feb. 7, 2008)
  • Nano Flakes promise greater solar energy efficiency - SunFlake has discovered a new material known as nano flakes for "future solar cells" that have the potential to convert up to 30% of the solar energy into electricity, twice the current average. The technology has the potential to reduce solar cell production costs which rely on expensive semiconducting silicium. (GizMag; Dec. 20, 2007)
  • Advanced Diamond Solutions - Developing thermionic solar cells using amorphous diamond nanostructures that offer potential efficiencies of 50% at half the cost of silicon solar cells. As a thermal electric generator, amorphous diamond cannot be matched by other materials.
  • Solar cell efficiency boost - Global Warming Solutions has developed new solar energy conversion technology based on a novel organic polymer coating that can be applied to existing solar cells. It is expected to increase efficiency by 11-15% by transforming more of the visible and infrared spectrums into electricity. (GizMag; Nov. 13, 2007)
  • Capturing more light in solar cells - Braggone has discovered a method of capturing more light in a solar cell that greatly increases the efficiency and cost-effectively increases their capacity. It is a very simple spray coat, bake and repeat process, to apply anti-reflective coating that minimizes reflective losses which can reach up to 30%. (GizMag; Oct. 12, 2007)
    • Spray-on Solar Panels - A new Australian solar company Spark Solar and Finnish materials company Braggone Oy are working with Australian National University (ANU) on the spray-on method. This new technique can be commercially available by 2011. (Alternative Energy; Feb. 12, 2009)
  • Nanotech > Nanotech could make solar energy as easy and cheap as growing grass - Scientists are working to produce cheap, sustainable solar energy by imitating nature. Nanotechnology researchers like California Institute of Technology professor Nate Lewis are exploring nanoscale materials that mimic the architecture of grass and photosynthesis to capture and store the sun's energy. (PhysOrg; Sept. 17, 2007)
  • Russians Harness Star Power in New Battery - Russian scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research have invented a battery based on a new substance that allegedly can capture energy not only from the sun, but also from the stars.
  • New Solar Panel Design Traps More Light - A new solar panel design at Georgia Tech features an array of nano-towers -- like microscopic blades of grass -- that add surface area and trap more sunlight. The team is working on the voltage end of the equation to make the 60-x increase in current meaningful. (PhysOrg; Apr. 11, 2007)
  • Lightweight Solar Cells for Space and Defense - U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded United Solar Ovonic a $6.7 million, 18-month contract to continue development of its ultra-lightweight, high-efficiency solar cell technology for use in space and airship vehicles addressing defense and homeland security applications. (Renewable Energy Access; Aug. 16, 2005)
  • On the horizon: a virtually perfect solar cell - The low bandgap of indium nitride suggests that by simply varying proportions of indium and gallium, it may be possible to create rugged, inexpensive devices that can convert the full spectrum of sunlight to electric current. (Berkeley Lab; Dec. 17, 2002)
  • Tiny crystals promise big benefits for solar technologies - Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) scientists have discovered that a phenomenon called carrier multiplication, in which semiconductor nanocrystals respond to photons by producing multiple electrons, is applicable to a broader array of materials that previously thought. (PhysOrg; Jan. 5, 2006)
  • Virus-Built Electronics - A new way to fabricate nanomaterials from harmless viruses as building blocks could mean batteries and solar cells woven into clothing. The programmed viruses coat themselves with the materials and then, by aligning with other viruses, assemble into crystalline structures useful for making high-performance devices. (MIT Technology Review; Oct. 23, 2007)
  • Solar Hydrogen Process Produces Energy from Water - Special titanium oxide ceramics harvest sunlight and split water to produce hydrogen fuel. Researchers at University of New South Whales anticipate an energy-harvesting device with no moving parts within 7 years. (PESN; Aug. 27, 2004)
  • Direct Energy Conversion Device (DEC) - ITN's developing device that efficiently absorbs free-space electromagnetic radiation (EM) using a broadband, 2-D grid antenna array that couples to essentially any polarized wave form (e.g. elliptically polarized solar radiation). (ZPEnergy; Aug. 7, 2004)
  • Devices Increase Potential for Flexible, Light-weight Power - Scientists and engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory's Materials and Manufacturing Directorate have made significant advancements in developing flexible, organic-based solar cells and photodetectors that can be used in a variety of Air Force systems. (PhysOrg; July 27, 2005)
  • Solar-Cell Rollout - Konarka Technologies in Lowell, MA working on breakthroughs in nanotech that are making it possible to churn out cheap, flexible solar cells by the meter in a process resembling a printing press. (MIT Technology Review; July/Aug. 2004)
  • Organic Solar Cell - Made from cheaper materials, their flexibility and feather-weight construction promise to open up new markets for solar energy. (PhysOrg; Dec. 13)
  • Popeye the Solar Man - MIT researchers say they have successfully combined tiny proteins found in spinach with solid state electronics, potentially producing a solar power source that one day might power mobile devices. (Boston Business Journal; Sept. 16, 2004)
  • Moving electrons at the molecular and nonometer scales - Learning how to control the movement of electrons on the molecular and nanometer scales could help scientists devise small-scale circuits for a wide variety of applications, including more efficient ways of storing and using solar energy. (PhysOrg; March 14, 2005)
  • Unveiled: The Clean Queen Of The Sea - Orcelle to be the first cargo ship in modern times to be run completely by sun, wind, and waves. Unveiling of first 820-foot long vessel, with cruise speed of 15 knots, expected next month. (Rense / The Telegraph, UK; March 13, 2005)
  • Solar ponds viable - "Solar energy was generated from a 3000-square metre solar pond, which is 2.5-metres deep and features high concentrations of salt. Solar heat entering the pond gets trapped at the bottom and the heat, which can reach up to 80 degrees Celsius, can be converted to electricity." (Bendigo Advertiser, Australia; Feb. 21, 2005)
  • Hybrid Boats and Ships - SkySails is testing a high-tech kite to pull ship along, designed to be a retrofit for existing vessels. Copenhagen group trying airfoils on cargo ships. Danish group implementing aerospace tech for airfoils on ships. SolarSalor implements movable wing-like solar panels that double as sails. (Alt-Energy-Blog; Feb. 24, 2005)
  • Dreams for solar-powered plane take flight - Swiss adventurer wants to carve out a place in history by harnessing solar energy to fly a state-of-the-art plane around the world. 40-million-euro project involves a team of about 50 scientists. (Sifi News; Feb. 27, 2005) (Thanks H2O Power)
  • Patent for solar powered house numbers - John Gorrell's design uses at least 1,000 times less energy than a 60-watt light bulb, so that a few hours of sunlight can power the house number lights for several nights. Concept also applies to many types of signs and other devices. (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette; Mar. 19, 2006)
  • Solar Wi-Fi Brings Internet to Developing Countries - Green Wi-Fi is a non-profit that seeks to provide "last mile internet access with nothing more than a single broadband internet connection, rooftops and the sun." Their $200 wi-fi access nodes can be linked together to extend one internet connection into a larger network. (TreeHugger; Aug. 3, 2006)
  • CO2 Sequestration > Device uses solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into fuel - Chemists at the University of California, San Diego have developed a prototype device that can capture energy from the sun, convert it to electrical energy and "split" carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide, an important industrial chemical that is normally produced from natural gas. (Science Daily; Apr. 18, 2007)


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