Solar Cells Collect More Light, Display Art

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Friend and frequent contributor Colin Rush sent this Economist item about Semprius, a concentrating solar cell maker about to go into production with their highly efficient technology. It’s big news that a production solar panel is able to convert 42.5 percent of sunlight falling on it into energy, when the world’s record for any solar cell was set last September by the German Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems with an experimental multi-junction solar cell that’s 44.7 percent efficient.  The 42.5 percent for Semprius cells drops to about 35 percent when they are surrounded by the normal mounting flanges and connecting lines – still well above most production panels. These may achieve 50 percent with suitable refinement. Using breakthroughs devised …

I’ll Take Manhattan

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

While much of battery research goes into crafting the ultimate anode, cathode or electrolyte, there seem to be few efforts, at least to outside observers, of integrated approaches to making a better total battery.  That may change soon, with the Department of Energy announcing formation of a new Joint Center for Energy Storage Research (J-CESR, or J-Caesar).   Dr. Steven Chu, U. S. Secretary of Energy, has established the Center at Argonne National Laboratory with a budget of $120 million over five years to create a battery five times more powerful and five times cheaper than today’s norms – all within five years. For those of us who’ve grown wary of those “breakthough” announcements that almost always include the line, …

Combining the Best of Batteries and Supercapacitors

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The CAFE Blog has been tracking developments in batteries and supercapacitors for nearly the last two years, and the annual Electric Aircraft Symposia have attracted speakers on a wide range of innovations in these areas.  Gizmag reminded us this week how much all of this may soon affect the ability of energy storage and power devices to change our world. Their report highlighted work on an energy storage system that combines the energy capacity of batteries with the power density and quick recharging capabilities of capacitors being done at Rice University, and linked that to research at the University of Illinois by Dr. Paul Braun on creating faster charging batteries with higher energy densities than currently possible.  Gizmag then did a …