Australian scientists report breakthrough in solar cell efficiency

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Matthew, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Matthew
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    Matthew Blue dog all the way!

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    Australian scientists report breakthrough in solar cell efficiency
    April 18, 2012
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    (L-R) Professor Tim Schmidt and his research partner Dr Klaus Lips at the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy have made a breakthrough in solar cell technology.

    (Phys.org) -- Low cost solar cells suitable for rooftop panels could reach a record-breaking 40 percent efficiency following an early stage breakthrough by a University of Sydney researcher and his German partners.


    With Australian Solar Institute support, Professor Tim Schmidt from the University's School of Chemistry, together with the Helmholtz Centre for Materials and Energy, has developed a "turbo for solar cells", called photochemical upconversion that allows energy, normally lost in solar cells, to be turned into electricity.

    The finding has been published in the Energy & Environmental Science journal.

    Professor Tim Schmidt said using the upconversion technique, a process which harvests the part of the solar spectrum currently unused by solar cells, eliminates the need for costly redevelopment of solar cells.

    "We are able to boost efficiency by forcing two energy-poor red photons in the cell to join and make one energy-rich yellow photon that can capture light, which is then turned into electricity," Professor Schmidt said.

    "We now have a benchmark for the performance of an upconverting solar cell. We need to improve this several times, but the pathway is now clear."

    Australian Solar Institute Executive Director Mark Twidell said this is a great example of successful collaboration between leading Australian and German solar researchers.

    "Together, Australia and Germany can accelerate the pace of commercialisation of solar technologies and drive down the cost of solar electricity," Mr Twidell said.

    "That's why the Australian Solar Institute is supporting collaboration between the two countries through the Australia-Germany Collaborative Solar Research and Development Program."


    Provided by University of Sydney
    Australian scientists report breakthrough in solar cell efficiency
     
  2. waltky
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    waltky Wise ol' monkey Supporting Member

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    Granny says, "Dat's right - make a better mousetrap an' ever'body'll beat a path to yer door...
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    When Solar 'Crossover' Hits, the World Will Quake
    6/26/12 --- The most important financial event of this decade will be called "crossover." That's the point at which solar energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuel energy.
     
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  3. demiurge
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    demiurge Rookie

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    While good news, I've heard LOTS of good news about energy break throughs touted over the last ten years.

    None of them have been a significant impact on fossil fuels.

    I agree R&D is vital, but so many promising techs have fizzled out. It sure looks like energy will be a mosiac in future generations - with each region producing what it can afford the most effectively. Oil is here to stay though.

    I think the next big revolution may be in materials industries - something that can positively impact the cost of escape of the Earth's gravity well, such as a beanstalk. If we can solve that one, we can launch all the solar satellites we want and beam the energy down via microwave.

    But who the hell knows what is going to be the next big thing! :D
     
  4. bobgnote
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    bobgnote BANNED

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    Smart brains are needed, but the Obamney-affected cults haven't found this out:

    1. Lose the drug war, finally. This cuts the carbon footprint, of police and prisons;
    2. Re-discover Henry Ford's hemp-ethanol and indestructible hemp plastic, which puts cyclic CO2 in the form of biomass back into the economy, see also: switchgrass, to be processed into ethanol, by ultrasound;
    3. Re-green deserts and polluted areas, or we are going to eat shit and die, anyway, see also: Mass Extinction Event 6, which with human-affected CO2 and CH4 emissions will challenge the Permian/Triassic Extinction Event, for the top spot, as all-time killer.
     

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