Tech UPTechnologyNew record for converting solar energy into electricity

New record for converting solar energy into electricity

In a new step towards the development of next-generation solar energy technology, data from a new study published in the Journal Nature Energy reveal, a conversion from solar energy to electricity has been achieved with a record efficiency rate .

The finding, the result of the work of researchers from the University of Queensland (Australia) led by Lianzhou Wang , is based on the use of nanoparticles called ‘quantum dots’, which generate electrical current when exposed to sunlight.

This new class of quantum dots developed, in addition, are flexible and printable, so that this would facilitate their use as flexible ‘skin’ on hard surfaces, unlike the rigid and expensive materials that conventional solar technologies use.

As Lianzhou Wang explains:

“This opens up a wide range of potential applications, including the possibility of using it as a transparent cover on cars, airplanes, homes and wearable technology. It could eventually play an important role in meeting the United Nations goal of increasing energy participation. renewables in the global energy mix. “

Almost 25%

One of the problems with quantum dot surfaces is that they tend to be rough and unstable, which significantly reduces their efficiency in converting solar energy into electrical current.

However, Wang’s team, which has been funded by the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Programs in collaboration with various colleagues both in Australia and abroad, has managed to overcome this stumbling block by developing a unique surface engineering strategy that has skyrocketed efficiency:

“The improvement we have achieved, close to 25 percent over the previous world record, is significant. It is indeed the difference that makes quantum dot solar cell technology interesting and commercially viable.”

Quantum dot solar cells is an emerging field in photovoltaic plate research that uses quantum dots as an absorbing photovoltaic material, as opposed to currently used bulk materials such as silicon. The processing technique for the layers of quantum dots also allows the dots to do their work both individually and in groups to transport the electrical charge to the edges of the sheet, where it can be collected.

Regardless of the ultimate strategy for harvesting energy from the sun, it seems clear that the future of photovoltaic energy is increasingly promising: the price of photovoltaic cells tends to decrease by 20% each time the capacity is doubled , according to explained Richard Swanson , founder of SunPower Corporation. In other words, a kind of Moore’s Law takes place in photovoltaic efficiency (in computer science it refers to the fact that approximately every two years the number of transistors in a microprocessor doubles). And according to authors such as Jeremy Rifkin , in his book The Zero Marginal Cost Society , 80% of the energy we generate will be renewable before 2040.

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