Record Conversion Efficiency for Plastic Solar Cells

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Megan Fellman, reporting for Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, explains a possible breakthrough in obtaining power conversion efficiency for polymer (plastic) solar cells  close to those for more expensive silicon cells. Fellman lists the benefits of the plastic cells: “Among the various photovoltaic technologies, polymer (plastic) solar cells offer unique attractions and opportunities. These solar cells contain Earth-abundant and environmentally benign materials, can be made flexible and lightweight, and can be fabricated using roll-to-roll technologies similar to how newspapers are printed. But the challenge has been improving the cells’ power-conversion efficiency.” Faculty members and students led by Professor Tobin J. Marks designed and synthesized new polymer semiconductors, “and reports the realization of polymer solar cells with fill factors of 80 percent – …

Better Batteries: Powers of Ten

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The CAFE Foundation in its Electric Aircraft Symposia has put forth the idea of the 10X battery for many years.  Dr. Seeley therefore found a great deal of excitement in the following news. Researchers at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois have perhaps achieved part of that dream, with a graphene and silicon anode that yields a 10-times-faster charge and can hold a charge 10 times greater than that of a typical lithium-ion battery. Claiming their technology will be on the market in three to five years, the researchers have published a paper describing the research in the journal Advanced Energy Materials. A University press release explains.  “’We have found a way to extend a new lithium-ion battery’s charge life by …