Cheaper, Better Cells May Give Solar Energy a Market Boost

A new type of low-cost, high-energy cell could make solar power much more affordable and widespread.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn


What's the Latest Development?

RTI International, a nonprofit R&D center based in North Carolina, has announced the creation of a new kind of solar cell that can provide the same amount of energy as traditional photovoltaic cells but can be produced for up to 75% less cost. In addition, the potential is there for this type of cell to produce even more power than its predecessor. According to one researcher, "There are many well-known techniques to enhance absorption, which suggests that the performance can increase substantially." The cell also has increased access to infrared light, giving it more of the light spectrum for energy creation.

What's the Big Idea?

Although the idea of converting sunlight to energy has been around for quite a while, solar power only makes up less than 1 percent of the world's energy supply, and that largely has to do with the production costs involved in making photovoltaics. The new RTI-designed cell can "be manufactured using high volume roll-to-roll processing and inexpensive coating processes, which reduces capital costs and increases production." The ability to create these cells at room temperature also saves money on energy requirements.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Russia sends its first android to space

The Russian-built FEDOR was launched on a mission to help ISS astronauts.

Photos by TASS\TASS via Getty Images
Technology & Innovation
  • Russia launched a spacecraft carrying FEDOR, a humanoid robot.
  • Its mission is to help astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
  • Such androids can eventually help with dangerous missions likes spacewalks.
Keep reading Show less

Why Secular Humanism can do what Atheism can't.

Atheism doesn't offer much beyond non-belief, can Secular Humanism fill the gaps?

Photo by mauro mora on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • Atheism is increasingly popular, but the lack of an organized community around it can be problematic.
  • The decline in social capital once offered by religion can cause severe problems.
  • Secular Humanism can offer both community and meaning, but it has also attracted controversy.
Keep reading Show less

this incredibly rich machinery – with Antonio Damasio

Picking up where we left off a year ago, a conversation about the homeostatic imperative as it plays out in everything from bacteria to pharmaceutical companies—and how the marvelous apparatus of the human mind also gets us into all kinds of trouble.

Think Again Podcasts
  • "Prior to nervous systems: no mind, no consciousness, no intention in the full sense of the term. After nervous systems, gradually we ascend to this possibility of having to this possibility of having minds, having consciousness, and having reasoning that allows us to arrive at some of these very interesting decisions."
  • "We are fragile culturally and socially…but life is fragile to begin with. All that it takes is a little bit of bad luck in the management of those supports, and you're cooked…you can actually be cooked—with global warming!"



Keep reading Show less