Archive for April, 2016

16 April

1366 Technologies May Truly Be A Solar Constant ?!

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

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Watching the list of solar energy companies to appear and disappear over the years is almost like watching a revolving door….as solar energy industry continues to evolve. Yes, cost and efficiency are the two areas where many solar companies are concentrating their energy and effort in at the moment.  In recent years, many companies are directing their effort toward kerfless technology. One of these companies, 1366 Technologies, is worth keeping an eye on. The company’s name is referenced to the solar constantrepresenting the watts of solar energy that hits each square meter of the surface of the earth. It is  a company based in Bedford, Massachusetts that has developed a technique to produce silicon wafers by casting them in their ultimate shape directly in a mold, rather than the prevailing standard method in which wafers are cut from a large ingot.  The company aims to manufacture multi-crystalline silicon wafers, the building blocks of solar cells, at half the cost of current methods.

Traditional solar technologies may be replaced by thin and kerfless wafter technologes (credit: Smallman12q/Wikipedia)

Traditional solar technologies may be replaced by thin and kerfless wafter technologes (credit: Smallman12q/Wikipedia)

1366 Technologies casts wafers with a conventional thickness from molten silicon, creating a more uniform wafer quality than the current industry standard. (credit: Bob Frechette of 1366 Technologies)

1366 Technologies casts wafers with a conventional thickness from molten silicon, creating a more uniform wafer quality than the current industry standard. (credit: Bob Frechette of 1366 Technologies)

The company used a $4 million grant obtained from the United States Department of Energy‘s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program in December 2009 to fund research over an 18-month period. Grants from ARPA-E are designed to provide money to relatively small projects offering the potential for high-payoff results in fostering advanced techniques. 1366 Technologies was able to announce eight months into the grant period that it had achieved success in its casting technology, in which molten silicon is poured directly into a mold to produce wafers in their final form, a square 6 inches (15 cm) on each side that is 200 micrometers thick and are then extracted from the mold using a proprietary technique to ensure that the wafer doesn’t break while being removed from the mold. In traditional methods, wafers of this size are cut from a large single ingot or crystal, in an approach that leaves as much as half of the original silicon ingot as waste.


Below, a video that was published back in 2009 on the basics behind silicon-based solar cell technology by 1366 Technologies:


David Danielson, program director for solar energy at ARPA-E said that “early indications show this could be one of our great success stories.” ARPA-E’s first director Arun Majumdar estimated that current techniques generate solar power at a cost of $4 per watt, and that bringing down that cost to $1.50 per watt could lead to the widespread adoption of solar energy (solar industry is evolving very fast and is currently already at the cost level of slightly over $1.00 per watt). Company president Frank van Mierlo estimated that solar power generated using wafers from 1366 Technologies would be cheaper than power generated using coal. The company is now on their third generation of wafer-producing machines, which are full-sized, industrial line machines. The company will open a commercial-scale factory in upstate New York, slated for completion in 2017. This plant will start producing 50 million wafers annually, totaling 250 megawatts of output. It will eventually scale to 600 million wafers and 3,000 MW of annual production.

1366 Technologies has raised $70 million in capital to commercialize their innovation, from such investors as South Korean Hanwha Chemical, a major user of silicon wafers, as well as from Ventizz Capital Fund, North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners.


As the revolving door continues to rotate during Solar Evolution/Revolution, perhaps the name of a solar constant will bring forth a  longer stay than other abbreviated variables.

 

~have a bright and sunny day~
Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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14 April

A Newborn Baby, First Bacteria-Powered Solar Panels of Binghamton University, Unfolding In Solar/Renewable Energy Age

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Nine Biological solar cells connected into a bio-solar panel. The panel has generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells, 5.59 microwatts ( credit Seokheun Sean Choi)

Nine Biological solar cells connected into a bio-solar panel. The panel has generated the most wattage of any existing small-scale bio-solar cells, 5.59 microwatts ( credit: Seokheun Sean Choi)

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Wow! The ingenuity and innovative potential of human mind continues to amaze me!

I’ve always been certain that there will be more wondrous works waiting to improve the efficiency level and reliability, decrease the cost of solar in decades to come. Here is one more in line to be investigated:

Few days ago, on April 11, 2016, Binghamton University researchers took the concept of using cyanobacteria, a phylum bacteria obtaining energy through photosynthesis, to produce clean energy. These researchers used nine biological solar cells, also known as bio-solar cells, and connected them to a biological solar panel, resulting in the continuous production of electricity from the panel. The amount of electricity it produced reached 5.59 microwatts, which is higher than what any small-scale bio-solar cells can produce.

The paper was entitled “Biopower generation in a microfluidic bio-solar panel” written by Seokheun “Sean” Choi, an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering in Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science together with graduating students Xuejian Wei and Hankeun Lee ’15, graduating in May, according to Science Daily.

The Binghamton University Nanofabrication Lab provided the fabrication facilities for the work, while the University Research Foundation (Interdisciplinary Collaborations Grants (ICG) Program/Transdisciplinary Areas of Excellence) provided the funding. The findings are currently available online and will be published in hard copy in the June edition of the journal Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

 


The breakthrough occurred last year, after this group of scientists attempted to innovate the dual-chambered bio-solar cell. They created a microfluidic-based single chambered device to house the bacteria, and they also changed the materials on the positive and negative terminals of the bio-solar cell. With further investigation, using a 3×3 pattern, the group installed nine identical bio-solar cells to form a bio-solar panel, which they observed for 60 hours. Their observation showed the continuous production of electricity due to the bacteria’s respiration and photosynthesis. It may be a very low amount of energy production as it can only produce 0.00003726 watts while a regular 60-cell rooftop solar panel generates 285 watts, but the great potential in this discovery may lead to a more reliable energy source, as reported by Energy Matters.

Once a functional bio-solar panel becomes available, it could become a permanent power source for supplying long-term power for small, wireless telemetry systems as well as wireless sensors used at remote sites where frequent battery replacement is impractical,” said Seokheun “Sean” Choi.

When conservative naysayer commented to me,”What good is it?! It’s only able to generate such a small amount of power!” I’d retort, borrowing from one of Dr. Ben Franklin’s famous lines, “What good is a newborn baby?”, often used by Faraday as well….as we wait for the unfolding potential of one of many newborns in our Solar/Renewable Energy Age. This newborn baby offers great potential for a long-term, reliable power source in remote areas.

~have a bright and sunny day~
Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

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www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

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1 April

Elon, The World Is Ready For Tesla Model 3!!!

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Tesla Model 3 (credit: Tesla)

Tesla Model 3 (credit: Tesla)

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This is SO EXCITING!  I can’t wait to share the unveiling of Tesla 3 that many of us have been waiting for….Model 3 has achieved 215 miles of range (at minimum) per charge, with automatic safety features, starting at only $35,000 before incentive. Buyers of plug-in hybrids and electric cars benefit from a tax credit of $2,500 to $7,500, depending on the size of the battery in the car. On the low end of the spectrum, cars with 4 kWh battery packs will qualify for a $2,500 tax credit. The credit maxes out at $7,500 for cars with a 16 kWh battery pack, like the Chevy Volt. The credits were provided as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, otherwise known as the “stimulus bill.” (The incentive begins phasing out after an automaker sells 200,000 vehicles that are eligible for the credit.)

This is all part of Elon Musk’s effort in helping to speed up our transition toward the renewable future by accelerating world’s transition into sustainable transport. Let us give Elon Musk a round of applause for, unveiling of Tesla Model 3 (March 31, 2016 event), and for his contribution in slowing the CO2 emission into earth’s atmosphere….below:

Tesla Model 3 is essentially the fourth generation vehicle subsequent to Roadster, Model X, and Model S. Now Model 3 is designed to attain the highest safety ratings in every category. All Model 3’s will have supercharging capability (translating to freedom to travel) and be able to contain a 7-ft surfboard inside. There are currently about 3608 superchargers globally, about 3689 destinations superchargers. By the end of next year, number of superchargers will double ( to 7,200) and quadruple destination superchargers (to 15,000). The gigafactory will be busy, with high volume and the most advanced technology, and will be the world’s largest lithium ion cell producer…  50 gigawatt-hour per year of production!  It is the first Tesla electric vehicle that will be able to be massively afforded by general public and will definitely be able to dramatically help to reduce CO2 emission into our planet earth’s atmosphere. And thanks, Elon, for adding the autopilot feature into Model 3. Within the first 24 hours of its unveiling, there were 115,000 orders for Tesla Model 3. The world is definitely ready for Tesla Model 3!!! For those of you who want to order Tesla Model 3 online, please visit Tesla.com . Delivery will not begin until 2017 the earliest. Way to go, Elon!

~have a bright and sunny day~
Any comments, suggestions, concerns regarding this post will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Gathered, written,  and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.cafepress.com/sunisthefuture

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