In this post we will review five novel proposals that involve an evolution of photovoltaic cells or simply propose a disruptive technology, which has nothing to do with them. Finding revolutionary solutions when extracting solar energy would depend, above all, on its potential for its generalization. For this it would be necessary to find a way to improve their efficiency (performance and cost of materials) and usability. That is, it will be key to optimize the space needed for the placement of panels or other elements of solar energy capture. Whether multiplying them in mobile devices, windows, walls and different surfaces with a low productivity) as offering less expensive or expensive alternatives to the photovoltaic panels that are usually installed on the roofs, walls or on the floor. In Green Ecology, we show you new solar technologies that you probably do not know.
LuminAID, an amazing solar lamp
Our first innovation was presented recently at CES 2016, the most important technology fair of the year that was held in Las Vegas. It is an ingenious invention developed by luminAID Lab that is helping marginal communities, without access to electricity, to have a solar lantern that can emit light for a year.
Although the load lasts almost a year, its creators, Anna Stork and Andra Sreshta, recommend recharging this inflatable solar lamp every 6 or 8 months for only 6 hours of charging. His great achievement has been to achieve this incredible automonía from the absorption of solar energy through a patch. Its price is around 20 euros and is used in more than 70 countries.
Hydricity, the evolution of solar thermal energy
Solar energy has its limitations, such as not being able to generate when there is no sun and storage problems. In order to overcome these obstacles, a new source of energy has emerged that combines solar with hydrogen.
In particular, the Hidricity allows combining the power plants that produce solar thermal energy with the hydrogen fuel infrastructures. Thanks to this, according to its creators, scientists from Switzerland and the United States, we optimize the production of both.
It is achieved by an integrated system that produces energy ready for immediate use and also hydrogen, with which it can be stored for later use. That is to say, hydrogen will be used to produce electricity at night or on cloudy days, achieving an exploitation of about 46 percent, higher than that of photovoltaics.
Rawlemon, an almost magical solar sphere
The solar sphere known as Rawlemon manages to produce up to 70 percent more solar energy than a classic photovoltaic panel. However, it cannot be considered a different technology, since it is a new version of concentrating photovoltaic solar energy, known as CPV.
Its novelty is to use a sphere instead of Fresnel lenses. Of course, you cannot deny its spectacularity and ability to adapt to different environments and, in fact, it is marketed in very different sizes.
Apart from its spectacularity, it is a giant crystal ball on a support reminiscent of the globes of the world; its operation is based on something as known as the exposure of a magnifying glass to the sun.
Basically, the magnifying glass concentrates the light and then directs it to high performance solar cells. In practice, therefore, it varies, since it depends on factors such as the climatology of the place, the model in question or, for example, the point where it is located.
Transparent solar panel for smart phones
Miniature photovoltaic panels, the size of a mobile phone screen, say, and also transparent, are the proposal of Sunpartner Technologies. Its objective, as it is easy to imagine, is no other than feeding smartphones with solar energy.
Engineers of this startup have managed to make a solar panel transparent while continuing to function as a conventional one. It has been achieved by miniaturizing the solar cells in a lamita of a thickness of 1 to 5 millimeters.
Leaving the phone three inutes in the sun we managed a minute to make calls or three to listen to music. Or, which is the same, for now it is not enough to be able to charge the phone in full, but it can be decisive in emergency situations.
Material that captures and stores solar energy
This week has been news a new material developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that is able to collect solar energy to generate heat later, on demand.
Days or hours later, that same material (a transparent polymer film) can generate heat from the energy previously absorbed. And it does it without batteries, simply based on a chemical reaction, which multiplies its possible applications.
It could serve, according to its creators, to melt the layer of ice that remains on the windshield of vehicles. Since a single material, ultimately transparent, can capture energy and then store it for use in the form of heat, it is revealed as a functional technology that can end up serving for the most unsuspected purposes.
At the moment one is trying to perfect the invention, because it has a slight yellowish tone, reason why still it is not at all transparent. In addition, it wants to increase its calorific value, from the current 10 degrees Celsius to 20.