How ‘Invisible Wires’ Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiency
“How can we solve the silicon wire reflectivity problem in solar cells?”
We know that PV modules have a transmission wire reflectivity problem. But some research coming out of Stanford University could change this entirely. Instead of relying upon wires to channel electrons away from the silicon semiconductors, what if we were to use gold sheets with holes in them, and tiny silicon towers on top to redirect sunlight away from the gold sheet and into the holes? This way the maximum amount of sunlight can be absorbed and reflectivity can be minimized. This is just a small example of How ‘Invisible Wires’ Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiency.
Image Credit https://news.stanford.edu
Phase Changing Materials for Solar Panels
“How can we use phase-changing materials to cool down solar panels?”
Solar PV is the fastest growing energy system in the world. But that doesn’t mean that it’s without its problems. When they become too hot, they become very inefficient and reject a lot of heat into nearby structures. One way to counter this is to attach a layer of Phase Changing Materials at the back of the panel. The phase-changing material is a material at its critical value so it can absorb a voluminous amount of latent heat without changing its temperature. Not only does it act as a passive heatsink but it can store this thermal energy to be used in other applications such as heating water. Phase changing materials are usually attached in a capsule behind the PV panel and have an air gap behind them to ensure cooling. This is a great example of Phase Changing Materials for Solar Panels.
Phase-Change Materials for Solar PV Cooling
“What is an innovative way to cool solar PV?”
Solar PV has the highest growth rate amongst all forms of energy. However, in order to operate effectively, it must be at a stable temperature. One way to do this is to use something known as Phase-Change Materials. Phase-Change Materials are high heat coefficient materials at their phase-change temperature. Because they have a high heat coefficient, they can absorb a large amount of heat without fully changing their state. Phase-Change Materials are employed in Building-Integrated Solar PV Systems to keep them at optimal temperatures.
“What makes up our roads?”
Roads are literally one of the foundations of our modern transportation infrastructure. But like everything in the world of engineering, it must be durable enough to withstand its expected loads. For that reason, civil engineers have constructed road surfaces made out of materials such as cement.
How Additive Manufacturing Can Help With Sustainability
“Can Additive Manufacturing help fight Climate Change?”
Additive manufacturing is any maker’s dream. But did you know that it could also help fight global warming? Well, because additive manufacturing makes items by adding layer upon layer of material, it is not limited by traditional manufacturing processes. Therefore, less material can be used, and slimmer, more efficient designs can be achieved. As a result, manufacturing will become less resource intensive, and carbon emissions can be reduced.
“How can we make items on the spot?”
Advances in manufacturing have corresponded with paradigm shifts in human capability, whether it be the introduction of metals early in human society or industrialization later. But we may be on the cusp of another. Additive Manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, promises to bring more change by taking a 3D software object file and realize it in reality by adding layers upon layers of material.
Inkjet Solar Cell
“How can we print solar cells?”
To secure energy independence and security, solar cells need to be manufactured at an incredible rate. Part of this includes an initiative to print solar cells known as inkjet solar cells. This will allow for an exponential increase in the number of usable solar, and can result in a massive energy transition.