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back to article Lumpy nanoparticles improve thin film solar cells

A team at Swinburne University in Melbourne is claiming a breakthrough in the efficiency of nanoplasmonic solar cells. While it’s already feasible to cover the entire glass area of a building with invisible plastic solar cells, they’re nowhere near as efficient as traditional cell types: the very thin silicon layer they use …

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Headmaster

"run at half the cost"

What is the cost of sunlight anyway? Or did he mean "can be manufactured and installed at half the cost"?

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Re: "run at half the cost"

By the way, shouldn't that icon really be of Steven Fry as Bellgrove in Gormenghast (BBC)? [and I am a Texan who has been enthralled by Gormenghast since the early 70's. YOU try and read it on a hit or two of good acid. Actually, that's a damn good suggestion and I live to say that it CAN be done]. OK now that I look at the titles, Stephen Fry's icon should be separate, possibly as 'Clueless Pendantic...' At least the Pedantic grammerist has a few boards to stay up above the muck with.

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Re: Re: "run at half the cost"

the owl hooted menacingly at me as I stroked its soft and luscious feathers

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I'm not going to pretend I have any in depth knoledge of this field. From what I understand though they're manufacturing transparent solar cells to be applied to the windows of large glass buildings. The question I have is, if you keep increasing the efficiency at which these solar cells capture light, surely your window becomes a wall?

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Simple solution ...

... only turn the panels on at night.

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Some light is reflected by window glass, rather than passing through. And the light which passes through will warm the building. Some places, with a lot of sunlight, already use window glass treated to block the excess light. So reducing the light transmission reduces solar heating, and reduces the load from air conditioning. Generating electricity can help even more.

With the right design of the window system, things such as angles, you might be able to take advantage of the different solar altitude in winter and summer, and get better heating effect in winter, but I doubt many building have been built with that in mind.

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Happy

Re: Simple solution ...

I assume you don't want to go to 100% efficiency - just as much as you want the windows tinted.

(But I like Flocke's answer better).

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Coat

Re: Simple solution ...

You're definitely on to something there. Dark photon collectors, brilliant! Well not actually brilliant, quite dim actually.

<gets coat and hurriedly goes to Patent Office>

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Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Let's say a 'transparent' solar panel that converts 10% of sunlight to electricity will allow 65-75% of light to pass through (allowing for some light that is trapped but not converted to electricity). So what? Most high-rise buildings anyway use glass that is tinted and/or reflective and do not have the same view from inside as there would be with clear glass.

Sure, if they keep increasing efficiency it would become a 'wall', however there is no scope for that, since the idea is to harvest sunlight from areas that could otherwise not be used. Since for 'normal' photovoltaic cells, efficiency now is around 25%, being able to get 10% from what is otherwise 'unused' space is a huge bonus.

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Re: Simple solution ...

"only turn the panels on at night."

small problem: that solution will only work for half the earth. For us in the UK and Europe and most of america there is no sunlight at night. It would work fine for Australia, Japan, etc though.

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Happy

If you're cunning

** Prior Art Alert! **

You can control the efficiency of the cells thereby having a knob that adjusts the opacity of the window, too... (window blind manufacturers won't thank you, though)

You heard it here first ;o)

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Boffin

Clever science but the bottom

Wh/$

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Terminator

Perhaps there's something simpler

Sure nanoparticles sound like a plausible idea, but I am kind of intrigued by the finding that salt, yes table salt, can significantly improve how existing forms of HDD's work. Who knows where the next really simple breakthrough could come from....

As to the icon...I just kinda like it....

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Facepalm

"invisible plastic solar cells" ... "nowhere near as efficient" ... "at gathering light."

You reckon?

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Ah but,

Ah, but how long do these things take to pay for themselves? 5x their lifespan?

Until we fix that issue with all solar cells we have a problem.

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FAIL

Don't you just love rhetorical questions ?

Almost as much as one appreciates the answers provided (with no supporting evidence whatsoever) to such questions by those who pose them and who then go on to take these answers as a sort of Gospel Truth....

Henri

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Coat

Re: Don't you just love rhetorical questions ?

Is this a rhetorical question..?

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