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Archive for the category “Switzerland”

SolarStratos – Solar-Powered Flight to Stratosphere

[] – Solar-powered mission to edge of space is on

Solar Panels in any Color

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.


[] – White solar modules: a revolution for building integration
[] – Coloured Solar Panels Are Now A Reality

Airlight Energy and IBM Bring Solar Electricity and Heat to Remote Locations

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 energy: a sunflower solution to electricity shortage
[] – 5 Things You Should Know About the IBM and Airlight Energy Sunflower

Perovskite Solar Cell Produces Hydrogen at 12.3% Efficiency

Hydrogen and oxygen bubbles.

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.

[] – Billig-Zelle verwandelt Licht in Wasserstoff
[] – Water photolysis at 12.3% efficiency via perovskite photovoltaics and Earth-abundant catalysts
[wikipedia] – Michael Grätzel
[] – 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.

Mattmark Hydro Power Plant

– Location: Mattmark, Saas-Almagell/Wallis/Switserland, 2197 m above sea level. Power is mainly generated down the valley in Stalden at 715 m.
– Capacity: 77,500,000 m3 or 254.5 GWh (the energy content of the lake is worth ca. 51 million euro/66 million $ consumer electricity, consumer endprice assumed to be 20 euro cent per kwh). Or alternatively: the lake energy content represents the equivalent of one million man year of hard physical labour, assuming one man day = one kwh (in reality it is less). Adding a non-working woman and two children to the equation to replace the worker after two generations, the energy stored in this lake represents the labour equivalent of a nation like Denmark. In other words: it would take one million Danish men one year of carrying water from Stalden (715 M) to Mattmark (2197 m) in order to fill an empty lake. Come to think of it, we doubt if a Dane is able to lift 77.5 mm3 over 1200 m in a years time. Assuming three climbs per day of 33 liter each makes 0.1 mm3 per day or 775 days non-stop working for 77.5 m3. Swap Denmark for Sweden and you have the real picture: this relatively small power plant generates as much energy as all adult Swedish males combined can produce by muscle power. Figures likes these make it clear why energy can no longer be taken for granted and that real wealth is represented by kwh and not paper money. The Gordon Gekko’s of the future will be those who understand the true meaning of the Mattmark hydro power plant in particular and energy in general rather than money and interest.
– Power: 130.3 MW, both in Stalden and Zermeiggern (Saas-Almagell), fully integrated in pan-European network. Yearly production 665 GWh, meaning that per year slightly more than twice the content of the lake is converted into electrical energy. A mini-reservoir in Zermeiggern is used to store energy by pumping water upwards to the Mattmark lake at times of low demand. The dam was built between 1960-1965, but was interrupted for two years because of the largest accident in Swiss building history, as 88 men were killed after a piece of a gletscher broke off.



Pictures from holiday trip to Mattmark:

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Thin Film Solar

[Oerlikon Solar]

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