Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nano-engineered coating for photovoltaic (PV) cells that increases sunlight absorption to 96.21 percent. Reported in “New nano coating boosts solar efficiency” on CNN.com, this new technology may improve performance of PV by enabling greater energy capture. Importantly, this coating also improves energy absorption for non-direct angles between the sun and PV collector.
Solar reflectivity is only one parameter among a complex array of variables impacting PV performance. Nonetheless, the CNN article suggests that efficient solar energy absorption at high angles may eliminate sun tracking systems, which have parasitic power draws.
Researchers have been working on a number of alternative chemistries to lithium-ion for next-gen batteries, silicon-air among them. However, while the technology has been viewed as promising and cost-effective, to date researchers haven’t managed to develop a battery of this chemistry with a viable running time -- until now.
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