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Battery Breakthrough May Trigger Off-Grid Revolution by 2011
There are certainly benefits to owning a grid-tied PV system. Selling peak solar electricity back to the grid during the day can offset much of the off-peak energy required by solar homes. It becomes even more lucrative if we can get our policymakers behind feed-in tariffs. But an alleged “battery breakthrough” could eliminate any need for grid power and really boost the distributed generation side of the solar industry.
This potential breakthrough is called the Ceramatec battery. It was developed in Salt Lake City, Utah by Ceramatec, a division of advanced ceramics manufacturer CoorsTek. This battery promises to change our whole system of electricity consumption, transforming our homes from grid-tied power consumers to individual power producers. How? It’s small and safe enough to sit in your garage or basement, and according to Ceramatec, very affordable to boot.
According to its developers, the battery will store 20 to 40 kilowatt-hours of electricity and, recharging daily, last for more than 10 years. Furthermore, such a battery would be about the size of a refrigerator and cost around $2,000. According to a Solar Today blog, an equivalent lead-acid battery would cost roughly $10,000 and last only four years.
Researchers solve two 20-year old problems that could transform solar cell technology (Nanowerk News) Thanks to two technologies developed by Professor Benoît Marsan and his team at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Chemistry Department, the scientific and commercial future of solar cells could be totally transformed. Professor Marsan has come up with solutions for two problems that, for the last twenty years, have been hampering the development of efficient and affordable solar cells. His findings have been published in two prestigious scientific journals, the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS) ("CoS Supersedes Pt as Efficient Electrocatalyst for Triiodide Reduction in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells") and Nature Chemistry ("An organic redox electrolyte to rival triiodide/iodide in dye-sensitized solar cells
Inexpensive fiber-based solar cells could double energy production of today's flat cells
(Nanowerk News) Wake Forest University has received the first patent for a new solar cell technology that can double the energy production of today's flat cells at a fraction of the cost.
"It comes at a pretty high price to be green," said David Carroll, Ph.D., the director of Wake Forest's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, where the fiber cell was developed. "This device can make a huge difference."
The university received the patent for fiber-based photovoltaic, or solar, cells from the European Patent Office; applications to the U.S. Patent Office are pending. The patent on the technology has been licensed to FiberCell Inc., based in the Piedmont Triad Research Park of Winston-Salem, to develop a way to manufacture the cells. The company is producing its first large test cells.