Researchers discovered a way to double the amount of energy generated by solar cells

by | Jun 22, 2016 | Climate Change, Energy, Green Building, Recycling | 0 comments

We recently told you about an exciting development at MIT, where researchers discovered a way to double the amount of energy generated by solar cells. The breakthrough involves reconfiguring solar panels, adding an additional layer to their structure that reflects sunlight to a second solar cell at the optimal wavelength for peak efficiency. It’s an intriguing project that could have far reaching implications, but efficiency is just one of several barriers preventing solar energy from being utilized more widely.

Now, another barrier may be on the brink of toppling as a new research is developing a way to convert sunlight and water into liquid fuel.

A pair of professors at Harvard University have been working on developing a “bionic leaf” for some time now. The goal has always been to harness sunlight and use it to create liquid fuel rather than electricity that must then be stored in a battery.

To achieve this, a mechanism was designed to use solar power to separate oxygen atoms in water from hydrogen, which is then converted into isopropyl alcohol by bacteria. But prior efforts had used a nickel-molybdenum-zinc catalyst and the resulting reactive oxygen species would destroy the bacteria’s DNA. The only way around the unwanted reaction was to operate the system at very high voltages, which obviously would in turn decrease efficiency.

But the team has seemingly found a solution.

Read full Story: BGR

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