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Impressive Solar Cell Efficiency Improvements across the Board

  The strong growth of the global solar market in 2017 to nearly 100 GW from 77 GW the year before had caught any expert in the sector by surprise. The recent efficiency increases were not all that surprising but the constant and manifold improvements have been very impressive across the board. The latest solar cell efficiency table (version 51 in Dec. 2017) of the semi-annually published Progress in Photovoltaics alone listed 10 new efficiency records for various cell and module technologies from companies and research institutes in Europe, Asia and America:

Tesla, Australia to turn 50,000 homes into power generators

 South Australia plans to partner again with Elon Musk's Tesla which has already built the world's largest battery in the state

Some 50,000 homes in South Australia will receive solar panels and Tesla batteries, the state government announced Sunday, in a landmark plan to turn houses into a giant, interconnected power plant.

South Australia is already home to world's biggest battery in an Elon Musk-driven project to provide electricity for more than 30,000 homes

Bio-inspired energy storage for solar power

  Inspired by an American fern, researchers have developed a groundbreaking prototype that could be the answer to the storage challenge still holding solar back as a total energy solution. The new type of electrode created by researchers could boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 per cent.

  The breakthrough electrode prototype can be combined with a solar cell  for on-chip energy harvesting and storage. 

  But the graphene-based prototype also opens a new path to the development of flexible thin film all-in-one solar capture and storage, bringing us one step closer to self-powering smart phones, laptops, cars and buildings.

Can hydrogen fuel our future?

   It’s the first and lightest element in the Periodic Table and the most abundant chemical in the universe. An atom of hydrogen contains just one proton and one electron—and that could be all that’s needed to cleanly power our future.
  A team of scientists from CoorsTek Membrane Sciences (Golden, Colo.), the University of Oslo (Norway), and the Institute of Chemical Technology (Spain) has developed a promising new ceramic membrane that could reduce the cost and enhance the feasibility of hydrogen generation far enough to bring the technology to the forefront of clean energy solutions.
 The new ceramic membrane—made from oxides of barium, zirconium, and yttrium—can separate hydrogen from natural gas in a one-step process with incredibly high efficiency. Incorporated into a protonic ceramic fuel cell, the membrane can generate high-purity compressed hydrogen using just natural gas and electricity. The team recently published its results in Nature Energy.
 “By combining an endothermic chemical reaction with an electrically operated gas separation membrane, we can create energy conversions with near zero energy loss”, Jose Serra, co-author of the paper and professor at the Institute of Chemical Technology, says.
 The membrane consists of a dense film of a BaZrO3-based proton-conducting electrolyte on a porous nickel composite electrode, a combination that has high proton conductivity at 400ºC–900ºC—allowing it to separate primarily hydrogen protons out of methane, the primary component of natural gas, with incredibly high efficiency.

Lithium-ion cells allow to double the driving range

OSAKA -- Japan's GS Yuasa will begin mass producing as early as 2020 lithium-ion batteries that double the driving range of small electric vehicles. Lithium EnergyJapan, a joint venture with trading house Mitsubishi Corp.and carmaker Mitsubishi Motors, will develop the cells, which will be produced at its plant in Shiga Prefecture and supplied to automakers in Japan and Europe.
  Mitsubishi Motors'i-MiEV compact, for instance, has a scope of around 170km per charge. The new battery would extend the range to some 340km, comparable to that of a large electric vehicle which can hold a bigger battery, and close to the limit of a gasoline-fueled car with a full tank.
  The scarcity of charging facilities has been an obstacle to the popularization of electric cars, but longer-range batteries can help mitigate that concern. The plan is to hold down the price of the batteries to about the same level as existing products.

Neuer Rekord bei Silizium-Solarzellen

  Bis zum Jahr 2050 könnte Fotovoltaik ein Fünftel des weltweit benötigten Stroms liefern. Japanische Forscher vermelden nun einen Rekord für den Wirkungsgrad von Silizium-Solarzellen.
So effizient hat bislang keine Silizium-Solarzelle gearbeitet: Mit einem Wirkungsgrad von 26,3 Prozent nähert sich das in Japan entwickelte Panel der theoretischen Grenze für die Umwandlung von Sonnenlicht in elektrischen Strom. Dieses Limit wurde für Silizium-Solarzellen auf rund 29 Prozent berechnet. Der Wirkungsgrad ließ sich sogar noch steigern, wie das Team um Kunta Yoshikawa von der Kaneka Corporation in Osaka im Magazin "Nature Energy" schreibt. Gemessen wurde er vom Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme in Freiburg.
"Die Verbesserung der Lichtumwandlung von Solarzellen ist entscheidend für den weiteren Einsatz von erneuerbarer Energie", schreiben die Wissenschaftler. Nach verschiedenen Prognosen könnte die Fotovoltaik im Jahr 2050 etwa 20 Prozent der weltweit benötigten Elektrizität liefern.
Vor allem japanische Forscher loten derzeit aus, wie weit man diese Technologie vorantreiben kann: Auch der bisherige Rekordhalter unter den Silizium-Solarzellen mit einem Wirkungsgrad von 25,6 Prozent kam 2014 aus dem fernöstlichen Land.
 Yoshikawa und Kollegen verwenden bei ihrem Herstellungsverfahren zunächst eine kristalline Silizium-Scheibe, die nur 165 Mikrometer (Tausendstel Millimeter) dick ist. Deren Oberfläche wird durch Ätzen strukturiert, um die Reflexion von Licht zu minimieren. Dann werden Vorder- und Rückseite mit sogenanntem amorphem Silizium beschichtet.
In dieser Form bilden die Atome des Halbmetalls eine unregelmäßige Struktur, während sie in kristallinem Silizium in ein strenges Kristallgitter eingebunden sind. Die Kombination aus kristallinem und amorphem Silizium verringert den Verlust an Ladungsträgern.

 
 


Solarmodulherstellung  in  China                                                                                                                  Foto:AP

 

Nový solární článek zachycuje velkou část světelné energie Slunce

   Vědci z univerzity George Washingtona představili první prototyp nového typu solárního článku, který dokáže získat energii z takřka celého světelného spektra Slunce a díky tomu se pyšní i neuvěřitelnou efektivitou 44,5 % (teoreticky lze dosáhnout maximálně 50 %).
   V rámci trojrozměrné konstrukce jsou solární buňky z tohoto materiálu umístěné ve vrstvách spolu s dalšími typy, kterou jsou běžné pro zachycení fotonů s krátkou vlnovou délkou. Díky vysoké přesnosti výroby pomocí transferového tisku bylo možné vyrobit výsledný solární článek. Jeho velikost je ale extrémně malá – pouze 1 mm2, což má ale svůj důvod: konstrukce totiž počítá s koncentrátorovou čočkou, která v tomto případě používá poměr koncentrace v podobě 744 Sluncí.
 

 

Full Solar Spectrum Energy Harvesting

GaSb-Based Solar Cells for
  Devices com-prising these alloys (and, in some cases, the group IV element, germanium) have held the world record for conversion efficiency under concentrated sunlight for more than the last thirty years with steady increases in efficiency year-on-year.
  Efficiency improvements result from many aspects of MJSC design, but among the most important of these are improving the distribution of light between the subcells of the MJSC, increasing the number of subcells, and increasing the fraction of the solar spectrum being captured.

Low-cost ‘solar absorber’ for future power plants


Researchers at Purdue University created this 2-inch silicon wafer coated with thin films of tantalum and silicon nitride for enhanced solar absorption. The solar absorber was designed for use in “concentrated solar power” plants that might run up to 24 hours a day.

 
  Researchers have shown how to modify commercially available silicon wafers into a structure that efficiently absorbs solar energy and withstands the high temperatures needed for “concentrated solar power” plants that might run up to 24 hours a day.

Turning Waste Gas into Road-Ready Diesel Fuel

  Climate change is one of the most serious threats facing the world today. With the effectuation of the Paris Agreement, there has been a rising interest on carbon capture and utilization (CCU).
  A new study, led by Professor Jae Sung Lee of Energy and Chemical Engineering at UNIST uncovers new ways to make biofuel from carbon dioxide (CO2), the most troublesome greenhouse gas. In their paper published in the journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, the team presented direct CO2 conversion to liquid transportation fuels by reacting with renewable hydrogen (H2) generated by solar water splitting.

Quiet energy revolution underway in Japan

Dozens of towns go off the grid
 


Tokyo  Kashiwazaki Kariwa nuclear power plant, seen from  seaside . Photo  REUTERS

 
A northern Japanese city's efforts to rebuild its electric power system after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami mark a quiet shift away from the country's old utility model toward self-reliant, local generation and transmission.
  After losing three-quarters of its homes and 1,100 people in the March 2011 temblor and tsunami, the city of Higashi Matsushima turned to the Japanese government's “National Resilience Program,” with 3.72 trillion yen ($33.32 billion) in funding for this fiscal year, to rebuild.

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Kalendář

30.05.2018 - 2.06.2018
Ceramics China 2018
Guangzhou/CN
11.06.2018 - 15.06.2018
ACHEMA 2018
Frankfurt/Main
9.07.2018 - 12.07.2018
16.Electroceramics Conference
Hasselt / Belgium
9.10.2018 - 10.10.2018
SUROVINY
Praha/CZ