[rt.com] – Solar-powered mission to edge of space is on
Thanks to a new technology from Switzerland, solar cells can be made ‘invisible’ to blend in the environment. White panels on white walls, red panels on red buses, grey panels on grey laptops, etc. Currently most solar cells are blue-black to maximize sun light absorption.
CSEM has developed a new technology to make white solar modules, with no visible cells and connections, a reality. It combines a solar cell technology able to convert infrared solar light into electricity and a selective scattering filter, which scatters the whole visible spectrum while transmitting infrared light. Any solar technology based on crystalline silicon can now be used to manufacture white — and colored —modules.
Youtube text: Airlight Energy, a Swiss-based supplier of solar power technology has partnered with IBM Research to bring affordable solar technology to the market by 2017. The system can concentrate the sun’s radiation 2,000 times and convert 80 percent of it into useful energy to generate 12 kilowatts of electrical power and 20 kilowatts of heat on a sunny day — enough to power several average* homes.
The High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system, which resembles a 10 meter high sunflower, uses a 40 square meter parabolic dish, made from patented fiber- based concrete which can be molded into nearly any shape in less than four hours with mechanical characteristics similar to aluminium at one-fifth the cost.
Solar panels are on the march worldwide. One of the disadvantages of solar power however is its intermittent character, making storage an essential ingredient of every solar based energy system. Researchers of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (epfl) have presented a new Perovskite solar cell able to split water and produce hydrogen at an acceptable efficiency of 12.3%. Hope exists that this efficiency could increase to 20% by applying semi-conductors. This could breathe new life into the moribund hydrogen economy. As things stand now large scale hydro storage is the most attractive proposition backing up a large scale renewable energy system.
[spiegel.de] – Billig-Zelle verwandelt Licht in Wasserstoff
[sciencemag.org] – Water photolysis at 12.3% efficiency via perovskite photovoltaics and Earth-abundant catalysts
[wikipedia] – Michael Grätzel
[cleantechnica.com] – Perovskite Solar Cells Beat New Records (In The Lab)
Note that Lausanne combined perovskite solar cells with electrochemistry.
Over the last five years, perovskites have been found to rival the efficiency and cost of silicon in converting sunlight to electricity.
Pictures from holiday trip to Mattmark: