January 26, 2011

Solar reactor concentrates light to produce hydrogen fuel

Thermochemical reaction produces hydrogen from water and carbon dioxide.  This process could be commercialized if paired with the carbon emissions from an existing1482-smh_wcc_with_reactor_use-smaller_medium[1] power plant.  …

…   “The researchers designed and built a two-foot-tall prototype reactor that has a quartz window and a cavity that absorbs concentrated sunlight.

The concentrator works like the magnifying glass you used as a kid to focus the sun's rays, says Haile. 

At the heart of the reactor is a cylindrical lining of ceria.

Ceria—a metal oxide that is commonly embedded in the walls of self-cleaning ovens …”   …

Via Cal Tech: Solar Reaction Press Release.

February 17, 2010

Silicon Nanowires - Possible Solar Fabric

Silicon NanowireScientists from CalTech have developed technology that might lead efficient solar cells from silicon nanowires.  This could lead to all sorts of configurations for solar cells including fabrics.

" ... CalTech scientists say they have the underlying technology. Silicon nanowires, arranged in arrays, have been engineered that ... grab power from visible light ..."

" ... a cell geometry that not only uses 1/100th the material of traditional wafer-based devices, but also may offer increased photovoltaic efficiency owing to an effective optical concentration of up to 20 times ...”

" ... CalTech’s cells have efficiency comparable to solar panels now being installed on roofs."

"If nanowires can be woven into a viable matrix, combined with other material, it means fabrics can double as solar connectors, once they have a way to off-load the power they create."


Via:  SmartPlanet  LINK

November 17, 2009

The Dow Chemical Company Partners with Caltech on Solar Energy

Dow logo

On November 12, 2009 Dow and Caltech " ... announced ... a multi-year research collaboration ... in solar energy ... aimed at aligning Dow’s capabilities in CIGS based materials with Caltech’s research in next generati aterials."

Caltech logo

" ... research ... will initially focus on direct band gap materials that incorporate elements that are less expensive and more commonly available than those used in today’s thin film PV semiconductors.  ..."

"Photovoltaics provide carbon free electricity, however the cost and aesthetics of current PV systems has limited its adoption ... Dow recently announced its first building integrated photovoltaic product, the DowTM POWERHOUSETM Solar Shingle ..."

Via:  The Dow Chemical Company LINK

November 09, 2008

Solar Power Energy Storage

Storing power generated by solar photovoltaics is one of the challenges facing our transition to alternative energy. Fuel cells, batteries, molten salt are all viable alternatives being considered for this purpose. Caltech researchers are exploring the use of nano-rods to catalyze the fuel cell chemistry - splitting water. ...
... "But there’s a bigger problem. Even if we had all the cheap photovoltaics we could ever need, we can’t store electricity in large quantities - you either use it or lose it. " ...
Via Cal Tech: Quest for Catalysts, By Harry Gray

October 09, 2007

Solar Energy Scientific Event

Solar energy event, hosted by Montana State, is upcoming at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16. ... Caltech
... "Harry Barkus Gray from the California Institute of Technology will speak on Powering the Planet with Solar Energy. Gray is the Arnold O. Beckman Professor of Chemistry

Continue reading "Solar Energy Scientific Event" »