Emergent Futures Tumblelog

This is the Tumblelog of Paul Higgins and Sandy Teagle - Futurists from Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia. Go to Emergent Futures to see more or follow on Twitter at FuturistPaul . If you right click on the pictures, titles or links in these posts you will be able to go to the original story on the web. If you click on comments for each post you can either read what others have said or add your own comment via Disqus. If you click on the date of a post it will take you to a single post view where you can copy the web link if you want to send it to someone else. If you click on the tags it will take you to other stories from Emergent Futures with the same tag.

8bitfuture:

Transparent solar panels could replace your windows.

German startup company Heliatek are testing their flexible, transparent solar panels which could one day be built into houses to act as power-generating windows.

The panels are only able to convert around 8% of available energy into electricity, compared with around 12-17% for traditional solar panels, but the company claims that they are able to make up for that by providing better performance in low light and high heat to provide almost the same energy production overall.

The technology works by depositing a layer of organic molecules on polyester films, in a similar way to how OLED displays are produced.

The company recently started making a small amount of panels on a “proof of concept” production line, and say that within four to five years the cost should come down to  around 40 to 50 cents per watt, which will make them competitively priced compared to conventional solar panels. The new technology would also work out cheaper to install in new houses, as opposed to having to install windows as well as conventional solar panels on the roof.

Posted at 10:10am and tagged with: tech, technology, solar, energy, innovation,.

8bitfuture:

Transparent solar panels could replace your windows.
German startup company Heliatek are testing their flexible, transparent solar panels which could one day be built into houses to act as power-generating windows.
The panels are only able to convert around 8% of available energy into electricity, compared with around 12-17% for traditional solar panels, but the company claims that they are able to make up for that by providing better performance in low light and high heat to provide almost the same energy production overall.
The technology works by depositing a layer of organic molecules on polyester films, in a similar way to how OLED displays are produced.
The company recently started making a small amount of panels on a “proof of concept” production line, and say that within four to five years the cost should come down to  around 40 to 50 cents per watt, which will make them competitively priced compared to conventional solar panels. The new technology would also work out cheaper to install in new houses, as opposed to having to install windows as well as conventional solar panels on the roof.

Powerhouse Solar Cell Inspired by Leaf Biomimicry

A team of scientists headed up by Princeton University has achieved a whopping 47 percent increase in electricity generation from flexible plastic solar cells, simply by texturing the surface to mimic the wrinkles of a typical leaf.

Full Story: Cleantechnica

Posted at 8:21am and tagged with: biomimicry, tech, technology, energy, solar,.

Powerhouse Solar Cell Inspired by Leaf Biomimicry

A team of scientists headed up by Princeton University has achieved a whopping 47 percent increase in electricity generation from flexible plastic solar cells, simply by texturing the surface to mimic the wrinkles of a typical leaf.

Full Story: Cleantechnica

Solar cells must emit light to attain perfection, research suggests

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley claim to have hit upon a counterintuitive means of boosting the efficiency of flatplate solar cells by making them emit light. “What we demonstrated is that the better a solar cell is at emitting photons, the higher its voltage and the greater the efficiency it can produce,” said principal researcher, UC Berkeley Professor of Electrical Engineering Eli Yablonovitch.


Full Story: Ars Technica

Posted at 10:11am and tagged with: innovation, assumptions, energy, solar,.

Solar cells must emit light to attain perfection, research suggests


Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley claim to have hit upon a counterintuitive means of boosting the efficiency of flatplate solar cells by making them emit light. “What we demonstrated is that the better a solar cell is at emitting photons, the higher its voltage and the greater the efficiency it can produce,” said principal researcher, UC Berkeley Professor of Electrical Engineering Eli Yablonovitch.

Full Story: Ars Technica

8bitfuture:

Printable solar cells could turn anything into an energy source.

A team at MIT has developed a process to ‘print’ solar cells onto almost any surface. Using chemical vapour deposition, the process uses “abundant organic molecules” to convert about 2 percent of the available energy into light. Typical solar panels are around 12-17% efficient, but the team thinks 10% efficiency is achievable.

The cost of installing panels keeps many people from adopting solar power, Barr says. By integrating it into ordinary materials, he thinks he can clear that hurdle. “You’re already hanging a curtain in your house,” he says. “Why not add some energy to that?”

Posted at 9:11pm and tagged with: tech, technology, solar, energy, innovation,.

8bitfuture:

Printable solar cells could turn anything into an energy source.
A team at MIT has developed a process to ‘print’ solar cells onto almost any surface. Using chemical vapour deposition, the process uses “abundant organic molecules” to convert about 2 percent of the available energy into light. Typical solar panels are around 12-17% efficient, but the team thinks 10% efficiency is achievable.

The cost of installing panels keeps many people from adopting solar power, Barr says. By integrating it into ordinary materials, he thinks he can clear that hurdle. “You’re already hanging a curtain in your house,” he says. “Why not add some energy to that?”

8bitfuture:

New solar cell technique could more than double efficiency.

A joint Australian/German research team have developed a way to boost efficiency of solar cells up to a record breaking 40% efficiency. Current panels have around 12-17% efficiency.

Called photochemical upconversion, the process captures energy that is normally lost in 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,” Associate 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.”

Posted at 1:49pm and tagged with: tech, technology, solar, energy, innovation,.

8bitfuture:

New solar cell technique could more than double efficiency.
A joint Australian/German research team have developed a way to boost efficiency of solar cells up to a record breaking 40% efficiency. Current panels have around 12-17% efficiency.
Called photochemical upconversion, the process captures energy that is normally lost in 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,” Associate 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.”

futurescope:

Ultrathin and lightweight organic solar cells with high flexibility

The only way that solar power is ever going to contribute an appreciable amount of energy to the betterment (and cheaperment) of society is if we plaster solar panels on everything, everywhere, all the time. And we might just be able to do it now, with this new generation of panels that are thinner than a strand of human hair by a factor of 20.

Thin doesn’t just mean lightweight (although these panels are very lightweight), it also means flexible. At 1.9 micrometers thick, the plastic foil cells are, for all practical purposes, elastic. So, you can layer them onto clothing, for example, and not only will you not be able to feel any additional weight, but the panels will be able to flex and crumple right along with the fabric without damaging anything.

Beyond applications requiring flexibility, solar cells that don’t take up any space and don’t weigh anything become an obvious thing to stick on to all sorts of surfaces just because you can. Back of a cellphone? Sure! Roof of your car? Sounds good! Bottom of your swimming pool? Why not!

The current generation of these cells can only convert 4.2% of sunlight into electricity (which is terrible, to be honest), but by the time commercial availability rolls around in five years or so, our hope is that that number will get bumped up enough to make it worthwhile to start putting this stuff on everything.

[via] [paper] [photo credit: Kaltenbrunner etal.]

Posted at 8:34pm and tagged with: energy, solar, tech, technology,.

futurescope:

Ultrathin and lightweight organic solar cells with high flexibility

The only way that solar power is ever going to contribute an appreciable amount of energy to the betterment (and cheaperment) of society is if we plaster solar panels on everything, everywhere, all the time. And we might just be able to do it now, with this new generation of panels that are thinner than a strand of human hair by a factor of 20.
Thin doesn’t just mean lightweight (although these panels are very lightweight), it also means flexible. At 1.9 micrometers thick, the plastic foil cells are, for all practical purposes, elastic. So, you can layer them onto clothing, for example, and not only will you not be able to feel any additional weight, but the panels will be able to flex and crumple right along with the fabric without damaging anything.
Beyond applications requiring flexibility, solar cells that don’t take up any space and don’t weigh anything become an obvious thing to stick on to all sorts of surfaces just because you can. Back of a cellphone? Sure! Roof of your car? Sounds good! Bottom of your swimming pool? Why not!
The current generation of these cells can only convert 4.2% of sunlight into electricity (which is terrible, to be honest), but by the time commercial availability rolls around in five years or so, our hope is that that number will get bumped up enough to make it worthwhile to start putting this stuff on everything.

[via] [paper] [photo credit: Kaltenbrunner etal.]

alexob:

A team of MIT researchers have revisited the standard way solar panels are constructed and have developed a new structure that maximizes the capture of sunlight.

Cubes or towers that extend the solar cells upward in three-dimensional configurations. Amazingly, the results from…

Posted at 8:17am and tagged with: tech, technology, innovation, solar, energy,.

smarterplanet:

Making solar power competitive with coal | KurzweilAI

This 25-micrometer-thick peel-off film of silicon, used to make solar cells, has a metal backing that keeps it from breaking (credit: Astrowatt)

By the end of the decade, U.S. manufacturers could make solar panels that are less than half as expensive as the ones they make now.

At 52 cents per watt, that would be cheap enough for solar power to compete with electricity from fossil fuels, according to a new study by MIT researchers in Energy & Environmental Science. Assuming similar cost reductions for installation and equipment, solar power would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S. — less than the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour average cost of electricity in the U.S. today.

Improvements would include an alternative to the wasteful process now used to make silicon wafers, methods of handling thin wafers to avoid breaking,  installation cost-reduction, and improved light absorption, such as using nanostructured layers.

Posted at 6:07pm and tagged with: technology, tech, solar, energy, economic, innovations,.

smarterplanet:

Making solar power competitive with coal | KurzweilAI
This 25-micrometer-thick peel-off film of silicon, used to make solar  cells, has a metal backing that keeps it from breaking (credit:  Astrowatt)
By the end of the decade, U.S. manufacturers could make solar panels  that are less than half as expensive as the ones they make now.
At  52 cents per watt, that would be cheap enough for solar power to  compete with electricity from fossil fuels, according to a new study by  MIT researchers in Energy & Environmental Science. Assuming  similar cost reductions for installation and equipment, solar power  would cost six cents per kilowatt-hour in sunny areas of the U.S. — less  than the 15 cents per kilowatt-hour average cost of electricity in the  U.S. today.
Improvements would include an alternative to the  wasteful process now used to make silicon wafers, methods of handling  thin wafers to avoid breaking,  installation cost-reduction, and  improved light absorption, such as using nanostructured layers.

Posted at 3:40pm and tagged with: environment, transport, solar,.

Solar Power Capacity Increased 54% in 2011

Reaching about 28 gigawatts (GW), solar power capacity increased about 54% in 2011, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Full Story: CleanTechnica

Posted at 1:20pm and tagged with: energy, solar,.

Solar Power Capacity Increased 54% in 2011



Reaching about 28 gigawatts (GW), solar power capacity increased about 54% in 2011, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Full Story: CleanTechnica