A new brand of solar cells has been developed in Missouri that researchers are purporting is capable of absorbing much more of the spectrum of wavelengths that strike the earth. Normal cells are only able to convert around 20% of wavelengths into usable electricity; well these new ones increase that to 90%, purportedly.
Apparently the big change comes when utilising a thin, moldable sheet of small antennas called nantenna, that are able to absorb visible light as well as infrared by taking in and converting heat. This allows them to be used in industrial heat recycling and for solar designs.
Professor Pinhero who headed the research is attempting to move the technology over to something that can be mass produced as well as attempting to get hold of some U.S. Department of Energy funding to help accomplish this. Dennis Slafer of MicroContinuum is also being roped in as he runs a solar power and alternative energy firm.
“Our overall goal is to collect and utilize as much solar energy as is theoretically possible and bring it to the commercial market in an inexpensive package that is accessible to everyone,” Professor Pinhero states. “If successful, this product will put us orders of magnitudes ahead of the current solar energy technologies we have available to us today.”
He recently published a paper detailing his tests and the results of them.
Apparently within 5 years a mass produced version should be available. Combining it with current solar cell technology would allow for quite a bump in efficiency for solar power.