5X Batteries? How About 70,000X Solar Cells?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Matt Shipman of North Carolina State University News Services reports on a connector that could allow stacking solar cells without losing voltage.  This stacking could allow cells to operate at solar concentrations of “70,000 suns worth of energy without losing much voltage as ‘wasted energy’ or heat.”  This could have tremendous implications improving the overall efficiency of solar energy devices and reducing the cost of solar energy production. Stacked solar cells live up to their name, simply being several cells stacked on one another, with their layering leading to up to 45-percent efficiency in converting solar energy into electricity.  So far, the big drawback has been the junctions between cells, which tend to waste the energy from the connected cells as …

Getting Batteries in Line

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

In another bid to create the much-hoped-for 10X batteries, researchers at North Carolina State University are rolling their own. As noted in many articles, lithium batteries infused with silicon have a bad habit of swelling and contracting as they charge and discharge, pulverizing the silicon eventually.  Depending on the surrounding materials, the destruction can take place fairly quickly, leading to reduced cycle life for the battery. North Carolina scientists are fighting to extend battery life, though, with what they call “A Novel Nano-architecture for Flexible Lithium Ion Battery Electrodes,” part of the title of their paper in the journal Advanced Materials. Many battery electrodes are some form of graphite composite, and the impetus to wrap these anodes or cathodes in …