Day and Night solar power

day_and_night_solarcell.jpgResearchers at INL (Idaho National Laboratory), along with partners at Microcontinuum Inc. (Cambridge, MA) and Patrick Pinhero from the University of Missouri, are developing a way to collect energy from the sun with a technology that could potentially cost pennies a yard, be imprinted on flexible materials and still draw energy after the sun has set.

That’s a long and bold statement but how could this become reality?

Tiny nano-antenna array capable of collecting power by pick up infrared radiation not only from the sun when it radiates down during the day but also from the Earth when it radiates back up after dark.

The best performing solar cells today usually transform less that 40% of the usable energy into electricity. Flexible solar cells have half of this efficiency.

INL’s discovery could push this efficiency up to 80 percent if they can transfer this idea into mass-production.

Another advantage of this new technology is the cost: commercial solar cells are made of silicon and doped with exotic elements to boost its efficiency. The supply of processed silicon is lagging and they only get more expensive as demand increases.

The new approach uses a special manufacturing process to stamp tiny square spirals of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic. This process makes it potentially cheaper and mass produceable on a roll to roll basis.

INL’s discovery could push this efficiency up to 80 percent if they can transfer this idea into mass-production.

As the well informed reader of talk2myShirt knows, Solar Fashion is becoming the next big thing in fashion and having a continuos power supply for Smart clothing will make them run day and night.

A brilliant, out of this world technology that will one day make our power T-Shirt work – day and night :-)

source: INL

9 Comments


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