Scientists Explore Using Paper-thin Solar Cells to Generate Renewable Energy

Scientists in the US have developed thin-film materials with photovoltaic cells capable of producing energy. Much lighter than regular solar panels, they can be added to any type of surface, including clothing!. magine ultra-thin photovoltaic films that could be added to your windowsill, the back of your smartphone or even your clothes!

That’s the idea of a research team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), who have developed thin layers of photovoltaic cells. Made from semiconducting printable electronic inks, these devices are capable of generating about 370 watts of power per kilogram, about 18 times more than conventional solar panels, all while weighing one hundredth of their weight, say the researchers.

Although ultra-thin, these films are robust, as they are protected by a lightweight (13 grams per square meter), but very resistant composite fabric substrate. According to the researchers — whose project is outlined in an article published on the website of the scientific journal, Small Methods — these mini textile solar panels managed to maintain 90% of their power-producing capacity even after being rolled and unrolled more than 500 times!

It’s a project that’s as innovative as it is promising, since these devices could be adapted for use on numerous surfaces, the scope of which could greatly exceed those found in our homes. “For instance, they could be integrated onto the sails of a boat to provide power while at sea, adhered onto tents and tarps that are deployed in disaster recovery operations, or applied onto the wings of drones to extend their flying range,” the researchers explain in a blog post. 

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A pilot project in the North Sea will develop floating solar panels that glide over waves ‘like a carpet’

This illustration shows how SolarDuck’s technology could be deployed at sea.

Anmar Frangoul

  • German energy firm RWE is to invest in a pilot project centered around the deployment of floating solar technology in the North Sea.
  • RWE describes “integration of offshore floating solar into an offshore wind farm” as “a more efficient use of ocean space for energy generation.”
  • Earlier this month, energy firm EDP inaugurated a 5 MW floating solar park in Portugal. 

German energy firm RWE is to invest in a pilot project centered around the deployment of floating solar technology in the North Sea, as part of a wider collaboration focused on the development of “floating solar parks.”

Set to be installed in waters off Ostend, Belgium, the pilot, called Merganser, will have a capacity of 0.5 megawatt peak, or MWp. In a statement earlier this week, RWE said Merganser would be Dutch-Norwegian firm SolarDuck’s first offshore pilot.

RWE said Merganser would provide both itself and SolarDuck with “important first-hand experience in one of the most challenging offshore environments in the world.”

Learnings gleaned from the project would allow for a quicker commercialization of the technology from 2023, it added.

RWE described SolarDuck’s system as being based around a design enabling the solar panels to “float” meters above water and ride waves “like a carpet.” 

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Scientists create a nearly invisible solar cell with up to 79% transparency

Here come windows that can generate power from the sun.

By Derya Ozdemir

Transparent solar cells, which have the potential to convert windows, greenhouses, glass panels of smart devices, and more into energy harvesting devices, have taken another step toward becoming a reality.

A team of scientists from the Tohoku University in Japan has created a near-invisible solar cell using indium tin oxide (ITO) as a transparent electrode and tungsten disulfide (WS2) as a photoactive layer.

Remarkably, the cell has the potential to achieve a transparency of 79 percent and can help take the TMD-based near-invisible solar cells from the basics to truly industrialized stages, according to the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Israel tests AI-powered Floating Solar Panels

he new project is being carried out in collaboration with Israel’s national water provider, Mekorot.

By Dipayan Mitra

Israel announces that it plans to test a new artificial intelligence (AI)-powered floating solar panels system to generate clean energy, reports Nocamels. 

Developed by Israeli startup Xfloat, the solar photovoltaic (PV) system is meant to move and monitor the sun while floating on reservoir water. The company has developed an intelligent water management system that accurately tilts and tracks water loads and pumps. 

The data acquired from sensors is subsequently refined and directed to a knowledge-based machine learning process for PV performance prediction, and O&M. Countries across the globe are launching new initiatives to generate clean energy as a step to control global warming. 

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Scientists Set New Solar Cell Efficiency World Record with Tandem Solar Cells at Nearly 30%

By CJ Robles[email protected] 

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Researchers are now close to reaching their long-term target of over 30% solar cell efficiency for the perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell category. At 29.15%, it surpassed the current solar cell efficiency world record of 28%.

According to a press statement from Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin (HZB), the HZB development team led by Bernd Stannowski and Steve Albrecht already received official certification for the recent value from the CalLab of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

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World’s First Never Charge Solar Electric Vehicle Aptera Goes Live – Again


By Elena Gorgan

Aptera Motors is making a massive comeback after more than one decade of struggling as a startup, following up on the promise made one year ago. The first pre-orders for the Aptera sEV (solar electric vehicle), the world’s first never charge three-wheeler with record-breaking range, are now live.

Aptera Motors has been around since 2008 and has started on this comeback journeyexactly one year ago, with new plans for the reborn solar-powered vehicle. Aptera is not a car, but a three-wheeler, which could be classified as a motorcycle or an autocycle). It features solar panels on the roof and a battery pack as a backup, for those who plan on using it for more than just the daily commute. 

It has a futuristic design, it’s nimble and comparatively small, but the makers promise it’s spacious enough for two adults and a trunk-load of cargo, reliable and safe in case of an impact, and also very fast. It sounds like your dream vehicle (albeit a three-wheeler) has arrived – and it’s open for pre-orders. 

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These solar panels don’t need the sun to produce energy

BY NATE BERG

Cloudy days pose a real problem for solar panels. But a new innovation can convert UV light to energy—even if the sun isn’t shining.

When it comes to renewable energy, solar panels are great. Their efficiency has improved and their costs have dropped to the point where it would be feasible to move every U.S. home to solar power and save money in the process.

But then the clouds roll in. The intermittency of the skies has been one of the major challenges for this otherwise valuable renewable energy source. Though we can’t control cloud cover, a new invention has found a way to work around the inconsistency of solar energy by harvesting unseen ultraviolet light that’s present no matter the weather. It could soon be turning the windows and walls of buildings into a rich new source of electricity.

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Tesla expanding into solar microgrids and virtual power plants

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Elon Musk says he expects Tesla’s energy business will one day be equal to or exceed its automotive business. That day may be some time in the future but the company is clearly expanding its solar and battery operations rapidly, both for grid scale and residential applications.

Last week, Michael Snyder, Tesla’s director of engineering and construction for energy projects posted on Linked In, “If you like solving problems at the nexus of power systems interactions, protection coordination, system and product level controls, and DERs (Powerpacks, Megapacks, solar, and generators), check out the link below for a microgrid-focused product engineer. We have 120+ operational microgrids around the world with high impact to a variety of communities/customers. This is a unique and rewarding role.” That post was followed by a link to apply for a position with Tesla Energy.

According to E&E News, a microgrid is a cluster of energy generators — whether diesel or solar or wind powered — that serves nearby users such as a building or a campus. That cluster “islands” and keeps the lights on even if the regular grid around it blacks out, something that is happening more frequently because of severe storms, wildfires and floods associated with a warming climate. “If you look at the performance of the U.S. grid, it just gets worse and worse and worse,” says Peter Asmus, who studies microgrids as a research director at Guidehouse Insights.

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We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history

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We are approaching the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history

 In the next 10 years, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors—information, energy, food, transportation, and materials—that underpin our global economy. We need to make sure the disruption benefits everyone.

Suppose we told you that solutions to the world’s most intractable problems are possible in the next decade. Poverty. Inequality. Climate change. You’d probably say impossible, preposterous, unthinkable. We’ve heard that about our predictions before. But we have been proven right.

Now, we are predicting the fastest, deepest, most consequential technological disruption in history and with it, a moment civilization has never encountered before. In the next 10 years, key technologies will converge to completely disrupt the five foundational sectors—information, energy, food, transportation, and materials—that underpin our global economy, and with them every major industry in the world today. Costs will fall by 10 times or more, while production processes become an order of magnitude (10x) more efficient, using 90% fewer natural resources and producing 10 times to 100 times less waste.

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Transforming homes into power stations – how Sweden is disrupting energy production

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  • 54% of Sweden’s power comes from renewables and this energy is increasingly local.
  • Smart grids are switching Swedish homes from energy consumers to power-making ‘prosumers.’
  • Local ‘district heating’ plants use excess heat to warm the majority of Swedish homes.
  • Sweden tops the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transitions Index

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

As well as targeting 100% renewable electricity production by 2040, the country is transforming homes into highly efficient ‘prosumers’ – buildings which both produce and consume the vast majority of their own energy.

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New solar-powered truck bed cover captures the sun

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Solar power integration for pickup trucks just became more innovative.

 Worksport™, the manufacturer of tonneau covers and accessories for trucks, has debuted TerraVis™, a platform for versatile and cost-effective pickup truck solar power. The system combines the tonneau covers with a solar generation and energy storage system.

Solar panels built into the cover will collect the sun’s rays and store energy in multiple battery banks. The stored energy can be used to provide power to an electric motor or removed and used remotely.

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Nikola Tesla’s vision of wireless power transmission is alive with Kiwi startup Emrod

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Its technology is supposed to be cheaper, safer, and more eco-friendly than wired power

History lesson: In 1890, Nikola Tesla caused a total blackout in the town of Colorado Springs using a 140-foot Tesla coil. Creating a citywide power outage was not his goal. He wanted to power a light bulb that was more than two miles away without using wires. Much to the dismay and anger of residents and the power plant, whose dynamo was burned out, the experiment was claimed to be a success, a claim that later proved to be debatable.

Now more than 100 years later, an energy startup called Emrod wants to bring Tesla’s dream of wireless power transmission to life. The New Zealand company has partnered with one of the country’s primary power distributors to build a wireless electricity infrastructure that it believes can deliver power more efficiently than traditional methods.

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