Hot Solar Cell

As posted in the MIT Technology Review earlier this year, we are developing a new “hot solar cell” technology.
By converting heat to focused beams of light, a new solar device could create cheap and continuous power.

Solar panels cover a growing number of rooftops, but even decades after they were first developed, the slabs of silicon remain bulky, expensive, and inefficient. Fundamental limitations prevent these conventional photovoltaics from absorbing more than a fraction of the energy in sunlight.

But a team of MIT scientists has built a different sort of solar energy device that uses inventive engineering and advances in materials science to capture far more of the sun’s energy. The trick is to first turn sunlight into heat and then convert it back into light, but now focused within the spectrum that solar cells can use. While various researchers have been working for years on so-called solar thermophotovoltaics, the MIT device is the first one to absorb more energy than its photovoltaic cell alone, demonstrating that the approach could dramatically increase efficiency.

Visit the full source article here!

RanMarine WasteShark

Founded by Richard Hardiman, Ranmarine Technology uses WasteShark — 24-hour on-the-water drones. The solar-powered drones collect detritus, marine waste and chemical substances from ports and canals.

Founded in 2015 in South Africa, the company was later re-incorporated in the Netherlands at the start of last year as RanMarine Technology BV.

Hardiman is based in Rotterdam. He moved there after being selected for PortXL Rotterdam’s maritime accelerator (portxl.org) in February last year. The startup was one of 12 companies selected from 1000 startups worldwide.

In July last year the startup began a pilot with the Port of Rotterdam to test both the use of autonomous surface vessels in their waters and how the product actually works in “high trafficked waters”. The pilot was successfully completed last month.

There are currently 3 different types of the Waste Shark products: the WasteShark, the Great WasteShark and the ChemShark.

Check out their website https://www.ranmarine.io/ for more info and videos!

First Solar-powered Train

The world’s first solar-powered train is here!

India’s first solar-powered trains has begun service, running a 12.5-mile route from Delhi’s Safdarjung station to Farukh Nagar in the country’s north. The diesel-electric hybrid train has six coach cars with solar panels embedded in their roofs. The panels feed a battery that can power the train for up to 72 hours. Roughly 50 solar-harvesting coaches are set to be launched in the next several days, running primarily along commuter routes.

The new trains are a part of Indian Railways’s plan to establish an energy-generation capacity of 1 gigawatt of solar and 130 megawatts of wind power in the next five years. The state-owned company has been using train-mounted solar panels since 2015 to power interior lights and air conditioning, but their newest train is the first in the world to use solar power.

India isn’t the only country exploring solar-powered trains. A research team at the Imperial College London is embarking on a similar quest to take trains off-grid and power them with solar energy. However, the UK project is looking to track-side solar panels, not ones directly mounted to the trains themselves.

Visit the source article with a video as well on curbed.com

Wave Star: Kinetic Wave Power

Meet “Wave Star” of Denmark. It is a facility designed to convert kinetic wave power into electricity.

Wave Star is equipped with kinetic-energy harvesters called “floats.” The floats move up and down with the kinetic motion of the waves. The motion of the floats is transferred via hydraulics to rotate power generators. Their facility enables continuous energy production and a smooth output.

The full scale device will be equipped 20 floats of 10 m (33 ft) in diameter. Each power station will be able to produce 6 megawatts of energy, a single machine providing enough energy for roughly 4000 homes.

In the event of a storm, the floats can be lifted to a safe position. The facility could also be upgraded to utilize wind and solar power. The power stations are planned to hit the market this year!

Check out this video for more information!

Thanks to @SeedsofLove.Life for the share! <3

Foldable Solar Panels

We can now fold up solar panels that are nearly unbreakable and take them with us anywhere.

Instead of one solid sheet, these highly portable panels are made from a pliable network of glitter-sized solar cells.

A typical solar panel—more than five feet long and encased in glass—isn’t exactly portable. But a new type of solar technology, miniaturized so that each cell is the size of a piece of glitter, could be used anywhere.

The tiny cells are made from high-efficiency silicon, like standard solar panels. But the new form means that they’re not only small but flexible, and can be folded up for transportation, incorporated into clothing, or easily used in electronics.

Conventional solar panels “are brittle because they’re crystalline,” Murat Okandan, CEO of mPower Technology, the startup making the new technology, tells Co.Exist. “If you bend or flex them, at some point they’ll just break and shatter. By making our cells small and then interconnecting them we’re able to make them almost unbreakable.”

Visit the source link for more details!

The World’s First Solar Road

In a small northern town in France a road has opened which is paved with solar cells. The goal is to see if the highway can power the town, which has 3,400 residents. On the other hand, it still wasn’t cheap for them to build it. In order to fashion a single 1 kilometer lane it cost around 5 million euro. It is also not the most energy efficient way to harness solar energy because the panels are flat on the ground and not optimally oriented towards the sun throughout the day. Nevertheless, it is a way to generate clean energy from existing infrastructure. Its been said that the government hopes to expand the project to other roadways as well.

With advent of more effective solar cells we may see the price drop per kilometer of pavement bit by bit!

(Visit the Source link here!)

Solar Wheelchair

A team of students and faculty from the University of Virginia School of Engineering created a prototype design of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels inspired by the idea from a man with cerebral palsy from Turkey. Their goal was to create a prototype of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels for individuals with lower extremity or mobility disabilities, spinal cord injury, or cerebral palsy. The Solar Powered Team (SPT) created the prototype using a Shoprider 6Runner wheelchair. They built a structured frame around the base of the wheelchair to hold the solar panels. Three solar panels were attached to a convertible-like structure which rotates back behind the wheelchair.

(Visit the Source link to find out more info!)

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Kirigami-inspired Solar Cells

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that are lighter than ever before, modeled after “kirigami,” the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting.

A team of engineers and an artist developed an array of small solar cells that can tilt within a larger panel, keeping their surfaces more perpendicular to the sun’s rays.

“The beauty of our design is, from the standpoint of the person who’s putting this panel up, nothing would really change,” said Max Shtein, associate professor of materials science and engineering. “But inside, it would be doing something remarkable on a tiny scale: the solar cell would split into tiny segments that would follow the position of the sun in unison.”

(Source link: University of Michigan)

Beta.ray: The Spherical Sun Power Generator

(Image Source: alternative-energy-news.info )

German Architect Andre Broessel believes he has a solution that can “squeeze more juice out of the sun”, even during the night hours and in low-light regions. His company Rawlemon has created a spherical sun power generator prototype called the beta.ray. His technology will combine spherical geometry principles with a dual axis tracking system, allowing twice the yield of a conventional solar panel in a much smaller surface area. The futuristic design is fully rotational and is suitable for inclined surfaces, walls of buildings, and anywhere with access to the sky. It can even be used as an electric car charging station.

“The beta.ray comes with a hybrid collector to convert daily electricity and thermal energy at the same time. While reducing the silicon cell area to 25% with the equivalent power output by using an ultra transmission Ball Lens point focusing concentrator, it operates at efficiency levels of nearly 57% in hybrid mode. At nighttime the Ball Lens can transform into a high-power lamp to illuminate your location, simply by using a few LED’s. The station is designed for off grid conditions as well as to supplement buildings’ consumption of electricity and thermal circuits like hot water.”

(Visit the source for more information and videos: alternative-energy-news.info )

Powur

“To change things, don’t try and fight the existing reality, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” – Buckminster Fuller

Now that solar energy has  become comparable if not cheaper than other natural resources we are seeing the emergence of new disruptive and decentralizing organizations such as Powur.

Powur, founded by Jonathan Budd, is a company that offers the opportunity to help accelerate the adoption of solar energy worldwide and build a life-changing part or full time income.

In the last 5 years, solar costs have plummeted over 80 percent. Charles Thompson (Powur Executive Advisor) states that there is now real competition in the monopoly utilities model. Powur is now able to sell clean energy to homeowners that is cheaper than their utilities and is also something they own and control from their own home.

If over a million homeowners in the United States have switched to solar already and the cost is continuing to drop for production and installation, just imagine how  many homes will have switched to solar in the next 5 years.

For more information and a video on Powur visit their page here.

A thanks to Ishmael Brassard as well for coffee! You can contact him with questions as well.