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PhotovoltaicEnergy from our Sun = Renewable Energy
Renewable energy reduces our emissions|
Emissions that cause Climate Change
Emissions that endanger our children
The use of Solar energy can be
quite nice to look at.
You can see here Solar electric cells +
Solar hot water heating panels.
Solar power - also known as solar energy)is the technology of obtaining usable energy from the light of the sun.
Solar energy has been used in many traditional technologies for centuries.
The name derives from the Greek word 'phot' what means light and from
the unit for electrical current volt which was named after the Italian Alessandro Volta.
Light to electricity = photovoltaic
Photovoltaics on a roof
Sunlight is Earth's primary source of energy. The solar constant is the amount of power that the Sun deposits per unit area that is directly exposed to sunlight.
The solar constant is ~1,370 watts per square meter or ~1273 watts per 10 square feet
How does photovoltaic work?
The direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level is called photovoltaics. The photoelectric effect can cause some materials to absorb photons of light and release electrons = electricity.
In 1839, the French physicist, Edmund Bequerel, was the first, who worked with materials that produced small amounts of electric current when exposed to light.
In 1905, Albert Einstein described the nature of light, the photoelectric effect . Einstein won a Nobel prize in physics.
In 1954, Bell Laboratories have built the first photovoltaic module. It was billed as a solar battery but too expensive to find a market.
Many scientists work on new solutions
Were you aware that a North Carolina State University staff has demonstrated that water gel-based solar devices (known as: "artificial leaves") can work like solar cells to generate electricity?
The analysis has been released on-line within the Journal of Materials Chemistry by Doctor. Orlin Velev, an Invista Professor of Chemical and Bio-molecular Engineering.
The results prove the idea for making solar cells that more closely mimic nature. They also have the possibility to be less costly and more environmentally friendly than the recent standard silicon based solar cells.
The bendable products are composed of water-based gel infused using light-sensitive molecules (like plant chlorophyll) coupled with electrodes coated by carbon materials, such as carbon nanotubes or graphite.
Graphene is the fundamental structural element of a number of carbon allotropes including graphite, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes. Graphene is a 1-atom thick planar sheet of carbon atoms that are densely packed in a honeycomb crystal lattice. The name comes from graphite ene; graphite itself consists of many graphene sheets stacked together.
The light-sensitive molecules get "excited" by the sun's rays to create electricity, similar to plant molecules that get excited to synthesize sugars in order to grow.
Dr. Velev affirms that the research team hopes to be able to "learn how to mimic the materials through which nature harnesses solar energy." Although synthetic light-sensitive molecules can be used, Velev says naturally made products, like chlorophyll, are also very easily integrated in these products because of their water-gel matrix.
Velev even imagines a future in which homes could be covered with soft sheets of similar energy-generating artificial-leaf solar cells. The concept of biologically inspired 'soft' units for generating electricity might in the future provide an alternative for the present-day solid-state technologies.
About the Author of this article:
Colleen Jane Mcguire produces for the solar fountains blog, her personal hobby web log focused on guidelines to help house owners to spend a smaller amount energy with solar power.
Aqueous soft matter based photovoltaic or pv devices. Journal of Materials Chemistry, 2012; DOI: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/JM/c0jm01820a
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