Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pitch Black


No, this is NOT about the Pitch Black flick that could have been REALLY Scary but not so much, but rather about black solar cells and the potential of said tech regarding cloudy days and high energy efficiency quotients.

A team of European researchers has just announced that they've set a new record by creating black silicon solar cells that can convert 22.1 percent of the Sun's light into electricity - an increase of almost four percent on their previous record. While this doesn't compare to the record of 40 percent efficiency in traditional silicon solar cells, it shows that black silicon solar cells are now real contenders that could help greatly reduce the cost of solar power in the future.

Even more impressively, the team compared their new black silicon solar cells with traditional solar cells of the same efficiency, and showed that their cells increased daily energy production by 3 percent, thanks to their ability to suck up light even when the Sun was low in the sky.

It gets better.

Publishing in Nature Nanotechnology, the researchers report that their resulting cells are the most efficient black silicon solar cells to date, capable of turning 22.1 percent of available light into electricity. "This means that the surface recombination issue has truly been solved and black silicon solar cells have real potential for industrial production," the authors write.

What's even more exciting about this research is the fact that the team hasn't optimised the new cells as yet, so there's potential for them to easily become more efficient, as well as cheaper. "Our record cells were fabricated using p-type silicon, which is known to suffer from impurity-related degradation. There is no reason why even higher efficiencies could not be reached using n-type silicon or more advanced cell structures," said Savin.

& better yet again regarding infrared.


Blasting a specially tuned laser in the presence of sulfur gas alters the texture of solar cells to absorb infrared light. 

& last but not least, cheaper.


A simple chemical treatment could replace expensive antireflective solar cell coatings, bringing down the cost of crystalline silicon panels. The treatment, a one-step dip in a chemical bath, creates a highly antireflective layer of black silicon on the surface of silicon wafers, and it would cost just pennies per watt, say researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). They’ve used it to create black silicon solar cells that match the efficiency of conventional silicon cells on the market.

Click here to get info on the flick. The beginning sequence is amazing. :)

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