Industry News




 

04/25/2011

Solar Power Catches a Virus

 
Solar-Power-Virus

Researchers at MIT have found a significant way to improve solar-cell efficiency, utilizing the aid of tiny genetically modified viruses to perform assembly work at the microscopic level. 

It may sound like a bad sci-fi story, but these viral improvements have allowed the effective use of nanotubes in solar power technology.

Previous research involving nanotubes and solar efficiency ran into two problems.   The first issue was that the making of carbon nanotubes generally produces a mix of two types, some of which act as semiconductors (sometimes allowing an electric current to flow, sometimes not) or metals (which act like wires, allowing current to flow easily).

The new research, for the first time, shows that the effects of these two types tend to be different, because the semiconducting nanotubes can enhance the performance of solar cells, but the metallic ones have the opposite effect.

The second issue was that nanotubes tend to clump together – reducing their effectiveness.

And that’s where the strange solution of the virus comes in.  Graduate students Xiangnan Dang and Hyunjung Yi — working with Angela Belcher, the W. M. Keck Professor of Energy, and several other researchers — found that a genetically engineered version of a virus called M13, which normally infects bacteria, can be used to control the arrangement of the nanotubes on a surface, keeping the tubes separate so they can’t short out the circuits, and keeping the tubes apart so they don’t clump.

The system the researchers tested used a type of solar cell known as dye-sensitized solar cells, a lightweight and inexpensive type where the active layer is composed of titanium dioxide, rather than the silicon used in conventional solar cells.

The same technique could be applied to other types as well, including quantum-dot and organic solar cells. In tests, adding the virus-built structures enhanced the power conversion efficiency to 10.6 percent from 8 percent — almost a one-third improvement.

This substantial improvement takes place even though the viruses and the nanotubes make up only 0.1 percent by weight of the finished cell.

This process adds only a single, simple step to standard solar-cell manufacturing processes, and should be ready to implement rapidly.  Will a virus pave the way for solar-cell efficiency?

California Solar Thermal Power Plant

Walmart Expands Solar Power Renewable Energy Efforts

The Surges of Green Power

 


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


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Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 
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11/20/2014

Study finds paper towel dispensers carry far fewer germs.

11/19/2014

Tool will help manage information during power outages.

11/18/2014

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11/17/2014

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11/14/2014

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11/12/2014

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11/11/2014

EPA says cleanup will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

11/10/2014

Methane will be used as a fuel source.

11/07/2014

ASTM to target roofing material diversion rates. 

11/06/2014

ORNL scientists look to the future of renewable energy integration.

11/05/2014

Lawsuits unlikely to convince polluters to change opposition to legislative reform. 

11/04/2014

Green building investment jumps in 2013. 

11/03/2014

Study shows difference between reported and measured occupant behavior

10/31/2014

Report shows energy modeling as key to improving building performance

10/30/2014

Report shows healthy features and practices yield results.

10/29/2014

USGBC announces two more years to prepare for LEED v4.

10/28/2014

Current projects could replace up to 8% of the Army’s energy use.

10/27/2014

Report shows increased occupant engagement in offices with green features.

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