Posts Tagged ‘solar’
With normal solar cells, you need direct sunlight for them to generate power, and if the panels are at all shaded the efficiency drops significantly. A new type of solar cell, being developed in Jerusalem, is making huge waves because it can generate power from diffuse light using a specialized colored panel. They look a bit like colored plexi-glass but are actually panes made with fluorescent dyes and nanoparticle metals, and could possibly eclipse traditional solar panels in terms of price.
The smarter panel is being developed by GreenSun Energy, a Tel Aviv-based energy start-up. The new solar panels also use 80% less silicon than traditional solar cells. As the direct or indirect sunlight hits the panels, it diffuses across and the nanoparticles of metal direct and concentrate the sunlight to the edges where the silicon is.
In a converted warehouse on the outskirts of Ann Arbor (Michigan’s other city), swarms of brilliant students harness conceptual, terrestrial and solar power for unusually racy, million-dollar road trips. Enter the Infinium 2009 solar car. Strips of photovoltaic panels (the space-age, gallium-arsenide kind) absorb the sun’s energy along a sleek and light carbon-fiber shell, and a 16-hp electric motor in one of its three wheels propels the 600-lb coupe up to 90 miles per hour and 98 percent efficiency. Awesome aerodynamics and innovative innards apparently allow the Infinium a driving range of 200 to 300 miles without any sunlight at all.
Revving up for the World Solar Challenge — an 1,800–mile race across Australia this October — the University of Michigan’s Solar Car Team pools academic disciplines, corporate backing and 3-D technology to engineer highly competitive electric vehicles. The Infinium is their tenth sun car in 20 years. In order to produce such a lean, clean and “green” machine, the 150 or so collaborators use CAD and Z Corp for efficient design, and mostly titanium and aluminum parts.