A new kind of polymer solar cell that is almost 70 percent transparent to the human eye could give windows the ability to generate electricity by absorbing mostly infrared, not visible, light. (Source: UCLA)
Good point, kodaiflow. Like many alternative energy technologies, especially those taking advantage of existing semiconductor infrastructure, the big push has been to make the technology a) work efficiently and b) be manufacturable. I wonder how much LCA studies have been done--that would be really interesting to know, although there may also not be enough data yet.
I think the main question is mean life span. This currently is the largest draw back to PV in it's current form. If these units can produce power for 30 years at a constant level then they justify the investment. The average solar panel that people are rushing to put on their roofs will have a life span (90% of peak) of about 10 years. In that time they may only generate 50% of the energy used to fabricate them.
Mydesign, your impression is incorrect. The US has been experiencing a major economic downturn for several years, including many people losing their jobs and their homes. Also, per capita average income figures are highly misleading, since a given dollar amount often buys much less here than it does in India. Classic examples are the costs for surgery and prescription drugs. In any case, it's a complex picture, especially when making comparisons.
Ann, that’s surprising for me. I though all US citizens are financially well settled peoples. As far as my knowledge, the per capital income of US citizens are more than 10 times of Indian citizens. Through my previous post, I mentioned about the government initiatives for promoting solar energy.
Yes, Ann, that's what I was wondering. I don't know the proper percentages, but say an average high effieciency window block 65% of a certain type of energy (heat, uv, whatever). If the solar cells take out 25% by themselves, that might mean that the cost of the base window could be reduced by eliminating an amount of the doping, and thereby helping to offset some of the cost of the solar cells.
Mydesign, that does resemble some US programs. However, because the cost of installing solar can be around $20,000 (depending on several variables), an often-quoted figure, "only" 40% would be $8,000. Not many people have that amount available for this purpose, even in installments.
Ann, do you know how that compares with your standard high-efficiency home or office window? Just thinking that if this has similar optical properties, there might be a savings in the base cost of the glass that would normally by used (by reducing the amount of "doping chemicals" which would help in the implementation of soemthing like this.
Ann, in the scheme which I mentioned, the upfront cost is only 40% of the total cost and the rest is a subsidy from government, which goes directly to the service provider’s account. So customer has to pay only 40% of total cost, that too in interest free installments (2-6 EMI based on various schemes from different companies).
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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