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New solar energy conversion process discovered by Stanford engineers

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posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 03:26 PM

A new process that simultaneously combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity could offer more than double the efficiency of existing solar cell technology, say the Stanford engineers who discovered it and proved that it works. The process, called "photon enhanced thermionic emission," or PETE, could reduce the costs of solar energy production enough for it to compete with oil as an energy source.

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Another good news for renewable energy sources. We have less and less reasons not to add those technologies to our power grid.

posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 03:53 PM
If they can make it cheap enough so that I can pay for an entire system for the cost of 1 years electricity.... I will be OFF THE GRID so fast, it'll make heads snap!

posted on Aug, 2 2010 @ 04:14 PM
reply to post by bismarcksea

Be careful with that, ATS wants you to live long and posper, or is it Spock?

It will probably turn the ROI from 25 years to 15. The solar panel themselves are only one part of the equation as total independance from grid requires a LOT of batteries to make up for winter season and rainy days. A good start is to install a solar heater for your hot water.

posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 02:51 AM
Exactly - the problem with solar power for low-density residential use has never been the amount of power available and the efficiency of the solar panels ( though that is part of the problem, it is a relatively small part). The largest problem is power conversion and storage. Full solid-state conversion is available, and quite reliable and efficient. It's also expensive.

And there has yet to really be a good power storage mechanism that combines a high energy density with the ability to charge and discharge at relatively rapid rates (drawing the type of power your house draws off of batteries is just not practical - with those power demands, it takes batteries with already relatively short lifespans by their design and hacks their lifespan to pieces).

The real problem is a viable form of power storage. It needs to charge quickly, be a very low resistance (also an efficiency thing), be capable of providing a lot of power, have high energy density (hold a lot of power in a very small space), and last a very long time.

That pretty much means room temperature superconductors or some very radical new capacitor (not a flux capacitor...).

posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 03:06 AM
The problem with all these new solar panels is we never see them on the market.
I have been seeing reports of all these breakthroughs for years.
things like prinable solar panels (thin film)
Flexable panels that you can roll up.

But you never see them on the market. and some of these ideas are 5 to 10 years old.

Ether no one in the US can get the money to make them, Or the chinese block making them in china because the have invested so much money in old style panels and don't want to compete with themselves.

Or in some cases the manufactures can not sell them on the open market because they are back ordered for years by big companies that are buying them for there own projects.

posted on Aug, 3 2010 @ 05:35 AM
Oil is extremely expensive as an electrical energy source, which is one of the reasons it is not used. In any case hopefully it is a big-step up over current PV cells which should help lower CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use. If they can get the payback time to 5-10 years (at average grid prices) for the total system, then I'm sold.

[edit on 3/8/2010 by C0bzz]

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