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80% Efficient Solar Panel?! Works at Night?!

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posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 02:41 AM

80% Efficient Solar Panel?! Works at Night?!

The most expensive, carefully designed, and complicated solar panels in the world operate at about 40% efficiency. That means that, for every bit of sunlight that hits the panel, only 40% of it is turned into electricity.

Steven Novack of the Idaho National Laboratories came up with an inexpensive, foldable solar panel that may turn out to be up to 80% efficient.
(visit the link for the full news article)

Related News Links:

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 02:41 AM
This is incredible!

There was a news story about solar power being integrated into paint so your whole house would be covered in solar panels. The efficiency wasn't very high, but the technology was pretty similar (nanotech that is). I imagine production fell through the cracks of the patent office or an oil corporation bought the technology...

The trick is nanotechnology. The surface of the material is printed with miniscule nano-antennae that capture infra-red radiation, the kind that the sun puts out in abundance, and is even available at night. Television antennas absorbe large wavelength energy, so in order to absorb ultra-small wavelength energy (photons) they had to create ultra-small antennas.

Sounds great right? Oh wait, there's a problem...

There's currently no way to capture the energy being created.
So while there are electrons pouring out of the nano-antennas when exposed to the sun, there is no way to capture those electrons. But don't worry, those geniuses in Idaho are working on that already. By putting a tiny capacitor, or AC/DC converter in the center of every tiny tiny antenna, they think they could make this new kind of solar panel export all that energy it's created without raising the price, or lowering the efficiency too much.

Let's hope they start marketing this kind of material fast. We're pretty much addicted to coal and oil, and the solution so far has been to use radioactive material for nuclear power...Which is one of the dumbest ideas yet.

Here's a picture of the panel:

The article is from the 30th of January, but I figured this is still pretty breaking news, right?

And another picture:

An array of nanoantennas, printed in gold and imaged with a scanning electron microscope. The deposited wire is roughly a thousand atoms thick. A flexible panel of interconnected nanoantennas may one day replace heavy, expensive solar panels.
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 2/2/2008 by biggie smalls]

[edit on 2/2/2008 by biggie smalls]

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 02:58 AM
reply to post by biggie smalls

This is the sort of technology that needs serious R&D, not 'clean' coal and nuclear power.

We are moving in the wrong direction when we are still taking mineral deposits from the Earth (ie coal, oil, nuclear).

Renewable energy is the way to go and I believe a combination of wind, solar, and possibly hydro if used on a small scale will cover our needs many times over.

By simply placing the state of South Dakota with a few thousand wind turbines we'd be able to supply the whole country's power needs. If we spread the wind turbines out across the country and combine their use with solar power, we're set.

This creates many new jobs in the process, and new businesses will startup to produce the materials necessary for building all the new plants.

The problem with any new technology is that plastic is involved (a derivative of oil, a fossil fuel). There are plants that can be used instead of plastic such as industrial hemp which replaces the need for oil at all.

The first car bodies were made out of hemp before metal replaced their use in case anyone was wondering about the strength of the material.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 05:49 PM
Just bumping this thread as I feel its highly important.

Companies are buying up alternative energy sources, yet the US can't seem to break its addiction to oil. I wonder why? Too much money to be made in that sector and pretty much our whole economy revolves around it.

We'd be better off without oil, but it would take some serious development to get 'clean.' I'd say investing in an alternative lifestyle is much more intelligent than thinking we can keep behaving the way we've been acting for the past 50 odd years.

The resources of the planet will run out sooner rather than later, but I think the average American hasn't been hit with a personal hit yet.

Once the average person cannot afford a gallon of gas, then things will start to change.

Until that time I only see increased food prices, gas prices, and pretty much everything else in between.

Get ready for the 'big crunch.'

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 06:35 PM
After the big spike in gallium arsenides... well, this is very good news. Maybe one day the process can be worked into sail cloth. It would help with flexibility and reserve battery stores onboard for sure. Sails only last a couple years even with care... maybe in a couple years. The process sounds very straightforward. Twice as efficient... and they absorb Ir... and at night!

If the process turns out to be sound the Europeans will jump on it large. Lotsa neat solar and other green systems in Europe where the tech has a higher social priority than in North America where how much energy one burns almost appears as a status symbol or something... it's slowly changing and people are becoming more aware of the need for alternatives to current practices. Some has been done well so far... some seems an exercise in "pseudo-green." As long as folks are aware thats all it should take... or so one might reasonably think. LOL. Not easily.

Hmmm. They say the anntenna print is "doped" with exotic chemicals which may or may not help "green" speaking but then again they don't say. That it's high frequency AC might mean some radio-interference troubles and conversion for storage batteries. It sounds really, really like a step in the right direction for sure.

It will be interesting to see if they can get the capacitors as part of the print for the nano-antennae to actually cap the electrons... if they can? Kotter and Novack at INL will be seen as real leaders globally. If it's "green" and it really works might be the only two qualifiers outside the price.

At double current efficiences? Cool. Nano-everything is really exciting. Microcontinuum Inc could get hot. It appears they are in the tape/data biz and thin film coatings. Appears private at this point... out of MA.

Cool bigs', if you hadn' t of bumped it I would have missed it.


[edit on 2-2-2008 by V Kaminski]

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 06:53 PM
Excellent find Biggie! This is mind blowing if it is in fact legit. This would make a huge difference for the average home owner / family in converting to solar power. Flagged and starred.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:31 PM
Good find yeah did you see the record profits by big oil that came out? Trust me oil is going no where anytime soon. I think it is going to take everyone to stay at home bring the economy to a complete halt for the government to do something. I think it has to start with the truck drivers and delivery people (UPS & FED Ex). If those guys stop working we would see a change. I think everyone needs to boycott exxon mobile. That is one small thing us average joes can do. If everyone boycotted them something would have to change.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 11:37 PM
reply to post by mybigunit

Great point on the UPS/FEDEX workers.

The majority of our waste comes from industry, plain and simple. Transportation is second...And then comes personal energy use.

Solar power could offset pretty much all of the industrial, commercial, and residential uses.

However, transportation would still be an issue. Bush seems to think hydrogen powered cars is the way to go, but that's just another band-aid on a huge problem. We use hydrogen for our rockets, but the combustibility of the hydrogen atom is pretty freaking high...Moreso than petroleum.

Personal transportation needs to go the biodiesel or biofuel route. I am not pro-ethanol by any means though. I think corn is a terrible solution to biofuel. Hemp, switchgrass, and algae happen to be much more efficient and they're not the same staple food crop as corn.

We need to come together as a species and figure out how to properly behave and stop letting the politicians decide for us.

They've been doing a terrible job so far, why give them the benefit of the doubt for the future?

The time for change is NOW. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, now.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:22 AM
Kaku (website) has already stated that if we could hit 70% efficiency that the world would be able to afford continued use of Solar Panels, and quickly convert from Coal, Petroleum, and Nuclear power stations.

Just imagine. 5 years from now... you go outside. get on your roof... throw a few of these plastic sheets (basically all these are... major size improvement on the original concept) down; wire 'em up... and throw your Electric Companies Breakers. then they have to pay US money for supplying power to their grid.



posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:26 AM

Originally posted by biggie smalls
they're not the same staple food crop as corn.

just an FYI... America grows SO much corn, we had to invent Corn Syrup. and Corn Oil... And about everything you buy has CORN SYRUP in it. Corn is not a staple food to our society. It's a staple crop that makes all of us unhealthy.

I personally would love nothing more than for Ethanol to be the replacement. If I wanna eat an ear of corn I still can... But maybe then we could finally have a Naturally sweetened beverage (i.e. sodas)

I agree we should look into ALL of the bio fuels you listed... BUT I personally think we have more than enough corn to eat AND fuel our country.

just my $.02 on that!


posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:28 AM

That's quite a scenario you paint and I think we'll be seeing that much sooner than five years to be honest. This is not the only company/research lab working on improving solar technology.

There was a company a few years back that had been testing solar power embedded in paint so a whole house could be covered with tiny receptors. I think the efficiency was somewhere around 20%. With this new technology, a whole house wouldn't have to be covered, allowing for a lot less chemical waste etc etc.

I'd like to see power companies paying ME for my power, not the other way around...That's how it should be.

P.S. Where's all the pro-coal/oil company people? You guys usually show up right about now saying how bad of an idea being ecologically conscious is.

Come on, where ya at?

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:30 AM
reply to post by coven

The corn-ethanol route is not the best case scenario. If we as a country have so much excess corn, we should be exporting it to people that need it (for free).

If there really is tons and tons of extra food lying around and we're not using it, that's a huge problem...And a waste.

There's starving people around the world that we could be feeding with corn instead of burning it in our cars. Its unnecessary IMHO.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 02:07 AM
Nice find biggie!

While I am a supporter of safe nuclear power (where the French get 80% of their power), I think solar is ultimately the best route, if we can pull it off with the right investment.

Bush has been speaking for a few years now on how we need to get off foreign oil. It was also in his latest state of the union address. Hearing it from him is almost like a joke. What has he done except pandered to big oil?

Anyway. I hope they don't shoot this new technology down.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 03:39 AM
There are just 2 problems with this technology:
• It captures infrared light, meaning that the energy input isnt nowhere near as high as sunlight; ie. need to capture more to make the same energyoutput as sunlight based.
• The frequency at which the energy is captured at, is at this point the largest problem. Converting it to 50/60 Hz which we can use for anything, is well, quite a hurdle..

But hey, new technology is always welcome. I've always wondered why IR wasn't exploited more! And this is apparently a very cheap to produce technology..

[edit on 3/2/08 by Thain Esh Kelch]

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 04:51 AM
great point Biggie. you caught me thinking "inside the box". I did think that a few countries that could use our excess corn have said that they didn't want it (due to pesticide uses and whatnot) I could be completely wrong... but didn't castro turn back a freighter of corn about 5-10 years ago?

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 05:59 AM
The government will provide the red tape where needed.

For example, starting a cab company here in AZ is more difficult than almost any place.. Why? Because the state depends on DUI's for financial sustenance. Cab companies are checked regularly for illegal alien employees, driving records and BBB guidelines. No other business is so thoroughly harassed by the gov't. They even have made it a law that a police officer may infer how drunk a driver is no matter what their bac and prosecute them such. Its a stream of income for the state and the police force. They make a profit of it.

So if you're talking a large movement in solar (which, by the way, I completely agree with all of your posts), you're going to have to get through the red tape. Somehow, they'll find that solar panels cause cancer in homeowners and that more panel installers die by falling than the average construction worker (higher insurance?). Who knows, people are silly enough to believe claims that the "nanotech" can breach the confines of the cell and infect you with a NanoSTD.

My point: They will make a big deal out of anything they are not a part of. They own the oil industry at this point. That's why its even a factor. If the taxes are not high, and the profit margins for the interest groups aren't enough, there will be a mass-scale fight against it, and it might never be seen. They will quiet such news.

There IS a water-powered car. Its been running, I saw it. Why is the inventor dead and the patent owned by the military but has never been released??

So basically, is solar the most unavoidable success the energy industry has ever seen? If not, the MSM and our overlords will get involved and squelch it.

Please, I am being the devil's advocate. Offer arguments, it would make me hopeful.

[edit on 2/3/08 by SantaClaus]

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 09:51 AM

Originally posted by Thain Esh Kelch
There are just 2 problems with this technology:
• It captures infrared light, meaning that the energy input isnt nowhere near as high as sunlight; ie. need to capture more to make the same energyoutput as sunlight based.

I think based on the fact that they say the technology is offering 80% gain means that they have overcome this hurdle.

• The frequency at which the energy is captured at, is at this point the largest problem. Converting it to 50/60 Hz which we can use for anything, is well, quite a hurdle..

ALL solar panels have to have the electricity transformed to be used,this is not a new feature. Check out this article from "Home Power Magazine":
"Solar Systems Simplified by Scott Russel
Notice #8 in the system, "the inverter". This is the device that changes the type of current produced by the PV panels to usable electricity. I have to admit I find electricity to be a bit confusing so if this is a not an answer the the issue you raise please excuse my ignorance. If it does, your welcome.

Regardless it is a cool article and is a great introductory to how a "off the grid" solar system is built.

But hey, new technology is always welcome. I've always wondered why IR wasn't exploited more! And this is apparently a very cheap to produce technology..

I think it is safe to say those with bundles of cash whose income / interests would be damaged by the development of alternative energy sources has A LOT to do wit the lacking research.

[edit on 3-2-2008 by Animal]

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 12:14 PM
Biggie, great stuff.

I've been following this nano-tech/solar company in Palo Alto, CA ever since I heard them on Coast to Coast some years ago. (Nano-Solar)

I believe they are having some success with these technologies and have gone to market already on some of them.

Check out their "light-weight solar-electric cell foil under Products.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 01:01 PM

Originally posted by coven
I personally would love nothing more than for Ethanol to be the replacement. If I wanna eat an ear of corn I still can... But maybe then we could finally have a Naturally sweetened beverage (i.e. sodas)

Corn syrup isn't natural?

Corn oil unhealthy?

Not according to this.

It's probably best to not use much oil in cooking, but corn oil is not the worst of choices.

I have nothing against ethanol as a source of fuel, but the ripple effect throughout the economy might make things worse, not better.


[edit on 2008/2/3 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 10:17 AM
If this thing actually works I am going to file it in the Titor got another one right column.

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