Breakthrough Material Could Cut the Cost of Solar Energy in Half
Renewable energy startup Glint Photonics has created a new material that, when used to cover photovoltaic cells on solar panels, can capture more energy with less infrastructure.
What's the Latest?
Renewable energy startup Glint Photonics has created a new material that, when used to cover photovoltaic cells on solar panels, can capture more energy with less infrastructure, greatly reducing the total cost of harvesting the sun's power. By changing its reflectivity in response to heat from concentrated sunlight, the material can gather in light that comes in from different angles throughout the day. Currently, directing sunlight onto the most absorbent part of solar cells requires lenses or mirrors supported by concrete and steel "which must be moved precisely as the sun advances across the sky to ensure that concentrated sunlight remains focused on the cells." That added infrastructure quickly runs up the costs for renewable energy plants.
What's the Big Idea?
Here's how Glint's device works using two essential parts: "The first is an array of thin, inexpensive lenses that concentrate sunlight. The second is a sheet of glass that serves to concentrate that light more—up to 500 times—as light gathered over its surface is concentrated at its edges." As the day goes on, the angle of the incoming light shifts and the material adapts, allowing light in only at the most direct angle, trapping the light beneath the edges of the material until it can be absorbed. The company says its material could produce electricity at four cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to eight cents for the best conventional solar panels.
Read more at Technology Review
Photo credit: Shutterstock
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.
- China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
- In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
- The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.
- For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
- These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
- Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.
In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.