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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Connectrac wireways offer discrete power and technology connectivity in open interior spaces of all kinds; affordably, quickly and with long-term flexibility.



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.

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.

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.


Mitsubishi Electric’s H2i R2-Series heat pumps provide 100% heating capacity down to 0° F and simultaneous heating and cooling down to -4° F delivering year-round comfort, regardless of climate zone.

 
04/15/2014

The EPA's annual greenhouse gas emissions report is now available.

04/14/2014

Are you what some would call a “climate-change denier”? If so, you'll want to read this.

04/10/2014
Los Angeles has remained the top city for ENERGY STAR certified building since 2008, while Washington, D.C. continues to hold onto second place for the fifth consecutive year, according to a new list released by the EPA.
04/09/2014
Green construction has grown massively over a short period of time.
04/07/2014
Field demonstrations of newly proven energy-efficient technologies are yielding valuable results for the U.S. Navy, helping it meet energy goals.
04/03/2014
Building owners in Chicago now have more options when it comes to getting their building energy data verified.
04/01/2014
According to a new report from Eaton, such outages are up 15% in 2013 over 2012 and over half of those surveyed believe that downtime could have been prevented.
03/31/2014
The newly revised ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 105-2014, Standard Methods of Determining, Expressing, and Comparing Building Energy Performance and Greenhouse Gas Emissions, aims to provide a consistent method of measuring, expressing, and comparing the energy performance of buildings.
03/27/2014
Facility managers face an every expanding array of sustainability choices and challenges, but for the next generation of FMs, green practices could be second nature as sustainability literacy enters the K-12 school system.
03/25/2014
While the economic recession explains the decline in sales in 2008 and 2009, it is much less clear why sales have continued to fall.
03/24/2014
University of Washington (UW) scientists have built the thinnest known LED that can be used as a source of light energy in electronics.
03/21/2014
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed Senate Bill 2378 into law, effectively enacting the state’s first building code.
03/19/2014
In an attempt to improve building energy performance, the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has released a web-based tool called the Technology Performance Exchange, or TPEx.
03/18/2014
Could green building practices pose unanticipated life-safety hazards?
03/13/2014
Worried about workplace violence in your facility? Researchers have discovered that “mindfully observing” high-risk employees can avert danger and workplace violence.
03/11/2014
Through the DOE’s Building Energy Codes Program, every dollar the DOE has spent on building energy codes over the past two decades has resulted in $400 in energy cost savings.
03/07/2014
It is possible to harvest energy from Earth's thermal infrared emission into outer space, according to new research from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
03/05/2014
Is your building prepared to handle an emergency?
03/04/2014
NASCAR revealed five newly installed charging stations for employee use.
03/03/2014
In response to California’s worst drought on record, an overwhelming majority of voters favor strategies to stretch local water supplies, including recycling, rainwater harvesting, and efficiency measures, according to a new poll conducted on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council.
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