Friday, July 11, 2008

New Concentrator Technique for PV Cells


New Type Solar Concentrator


Solar Cells

loosly adapted from a press release dated 10th July

An MIT report due to be printed in Science on 11th July detailing the discovery of a novel "solar concentrator." "Light is collected over a large area of glass [like a window] and gathered, or concentrated, at the edges," according to the research coordinator.

The possible outcome of this work is that PV cells need only to be mounted around the edges of a flat glass (or plactic?) panel. The focused light increases the electrical power obtained from each PV cell "by a factor of over 40," STS (so they say) A factor of 40 WOW!!

“Because the system is simple to manufacture, the team believes that it could be implemented within three years—even added onto existing solar-panel systems to increase their efficiency by 50 percent for minimal additional cost. That, in turn, would substantially reduce the cost of solar electricity.” STS (so they say)

The MIT project solar concentrator uses a mixture of special dyes that is sprayed onto a pane of glass or plastic. The dyes absorb light across a range of wavelengths, and then re-emit it at a different wavelength and help transport it across the glass pane to the PV cells mounted at the edges.

The basic idea is not new - but this time the MIT team say they have cracked the associated problems of transmitting the light efficiently enough through the medium.

A company has been formed called Covalent Solar, to develop and sell the new technology. They expect to have material to market quite soon. (don't bother Googling for it yet)

Contact details:
Contact: Teresa Herbert
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Good luck to the team and the company - I hope their product is viable, as it will further boost the PV cell "race to power".

As with all such announcements, I employ my trusted scientific principle of WAS (wait and see)



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