HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Engineering Materials
Stanford Engineers Invent All-Carbon Solar Cell
12/6/2012

Researchers at Stanford University have built a prototype of an all-carbon solar cell that includes carbon nanotubes in  both the photoactive layer and the electrodes.   (Source: Mark Shwartz / Stanford University)
Researchers at Stanford University have built a prototype of an all-carbon solar cell that includes carbon nanotubes in both the photoactive layer and the electrodes.
(Source: Mark Shwartz / Stanford University)

Return to Article

View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 2/2
Greg M. Jung
User Rank
Platinum
Reducing Exotic Materials
Greg M. Jung   12/13/2012 8:58:01 PM
NO RATINGS
I especially like the part about the elimination of indium and silver in this process.  As exotic and rare minerals become hard to procure (and with their unequal distribution for each country), this characteristic will make this option more and more attractive.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Reducing Exotic Materials
Ann R. Thryft   12/14/2012 12:46:46 PM
NO RATINGS
Thanks, Greg. The researchers specifically mentioned the increasing difficulty of procuring those minerals as a motivator to go to all-carbon.

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
ALL-CARBON SOLAR
bobjengr   12/21/2012 5:21:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Akwaman--You are absolutely correct.  Water heating is a significant factor in energy usage and solar water heating is definitely one viable solution to that problem--when possible.  Years ago, I worked for a water heater manufacturer and one item in our product line was a water heater using solar roof-top panels to "collect" the sun's rays and provide for heating.  We had auxilary heating elements when needed during inclement weather.  The issue in the southeast was considerable cloud cover that negated available sunlight--and lengthened the ROI.  Any advancement such as the one Ann is describing is definitely welcomed to that particular industry.  As advancements in solar technology progress, we will see added sales and resurgence in usage even in the most difficult environmental situations.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
Ann R. Thryft   1/4/2013 3:03:45 PM
NO RATINGS
It's also the case that storing heat for heating water--in large sealed water bottles, rocks and even earth walls--is a lot easier to do than storing "energy" in some other form. It's also been done already.

rv7charlie
User Rank
Iron
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
rv7charlie   1/9/2013 9:58:20 AM
NO RATINGS
Earlier posts mentioned 'efficiency' being the #1 issue. While that may be true, it begs the question: How do you measure efficiency? In a spacecraft, it's watts per sq in & watts per pound. But for an individual user like me who wants to make electricity for my home & vehicles, that's meaningless. The only thing I care about is watts per dollar. If this tech can reduce environmental costs, materials costs, production costs, and installation costs (all 'per watt'), that's where I'll put my money.

Charlie

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
Ann R. Thryft   1/9/2013 12:02:38 PM
NO RATINGS
Charlie, you took the words right out of my mouth. As a consumer, I am continually frustrated by the apparent inability of manufacturers to give  performance specs about their products in terms that not only make sense to me, but that are actually usable in an on-the-ground kind of way, not abstract numbers. My anti-favorite one is "joule", used by home office UPS makers. I can never, ever remember what it means and when I look it up, it still means nothing in terms of my home office equipment. But the first thing UPS makers ask is "how many joules do you need?" Sure, I'm an electrician and I think in joules every day, uh-huh. No guys--you're supposed to tell me how many I need based on the info I can provide you.

scifi tech guy
User Rank
Iron
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
scifi tech guy   6/14/2013 5:30:04 AM
NO RATINGS
Hi: Very nice summary, and, I am interested in the topic. What I would like to know however is what the efficency is of the device. I know it is extremely early in its' developement, but, I like to know such things. This is extremely early: I remember when a high efficency cell was a fantastic 5% because it was that new silicon stuff!

I rarely look at the mail but I find your lead-ins enticeing.Earl.

 

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
Ann R. Thryft   6/14/2013 12:23:43 PM
NO RATINGS
scifi tech guy, I like your handle :). Regarding efficiency, that's a good question: it can be measured in several different ways. Also, this is a prototype, not a working product, and definitely not a product that's been transferred to a volume manufacturing process. Check out the discussion below: many of the comments concern the subject of efficiency.

scifi tech guy
User Rank
Iron
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
scifi tech guy   6/15/2013 8:19:53 PM
NO RATINGS
Hello again Amy and tech oriented correspondents: I did as Amy suggested and found more material on subjects I am interested in. Some background: I have been interested in "alternative energy" since the 1960s. This is in part due to my long term interest in space exploration. There was a very large amount of practical ( for powering space systems version of practical) and advanced research done on systems that could be used for space power plants that we thought we would need in the relatively near future. This included thermoelectric and thermo ionic sources ( for Venus and Mercury probes Molybdenum Silicide thermoelectric conversion elements as an example). I also read about the work on Earth based applications, such as water heating devices that was mentioned as a desirable, economic way of using the Sun, during the 1970s and onward. This is a significant source of water heating for homes in Japan. As for the carbon based cells versus the present units with rare elements: I have looked into the various material used in Silicon and other cells ( and L.C.Ds. as well) and found that Indium, courtesy of Indium Corporation of America, is somewhat pricy except in thin films: a retail price for a pound ( from a Mc Master Carr catalog) was ~$350/ pound. Sorry for the long message,but, I think these points might be of interest to your audience, and you, Amy.

 

Thank you, Earl.

P.S.: I am intersted in energy beamed from space and have been on panels, and attended talks, on this subject.

Ann R. Thryft
User Rank
Blogger
Re: ALL-CARBON SOLAR
Ann R. Thryft   6/17/2013 11:57:56 AM
NO RATINGS
Earl, thanks for the comments on alternative energy and space exploration. I didn't realize that alt energy projects/technologies had been developed in that context, but it sure makes sense. The high and continually rising price of indium and its projected scarcity, as mentioned in the article, is a major reason the researchers were interested in developing a carbon alternative. No problem re length--we love long comments! (BTW, my name is Ann).

<<  <  Page 2/2
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Engineering Materials
HP revealed more of its 3D printing plans in a recent webinar. Senior vice president of inkjet and graphics solution business Stephen Nigro spoke about how the technology works and expanded on HP's vision of open collaboration to commercialize its Multi Jet Fusion 3D printing technology for end-production, and open collaboration on new materials. He also said HP will create software to help users decide when to use Multi Jet Fusion versus conventional subtractive manufacturing.
A lightweight electric urban concept car designed by several European companies weighs only 992 lb without its battery. It would have weighed 26.7 lb more if its windows were made of glass instead of the specially coated LEXAN polycarbonate resin from SABIC Innovative Plastics.
Skylar Tibbits' team in MIT's Self-Assembly Lab is now 4D printing self-assembling shapes made of programmable carbon composites and custom wood grain. The composites are being used in a sport car airfoil, and the wood grain is beautiful.
The NanoSteel Company has produced high-hardness ferrous metal matrix composite (MMC) parts using a new nanosteel powder in a one-step 3D-printing process. Parts are 99.9% dense, crack-free, and with wear resistance comparable to M2 tool steels.
After a year or so of missteps, false starts, retractions, and postponements, inkjet office printer giant Hewlett-Packard has finally revealed just what it plans to do in 3D printing.
Design News Webinar Series
11/19/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
11/6/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
10/7/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Dec 1 - 5, An Introduction to Embedded Software Architecture and Design
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Littelfuse
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service