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Solar Cells to Be More Efficient With Self Cooling System

Until a cheap method of extracting hydrogen will come by, it looks like electric vehicles have the advantage when it comes to future green transportation. That is if the electricity is obtained without burning fossil fuels, of course.
coned silica layer over solar cell 1 photo
And what better way to get free electricity than from our star, that bombards our planet with so much radiation every hour to last us a few years if all gets collected? Well, that’s the problem right there. Solar panels don’t currently have the required efficiency to make the most out of the rays hitting them.

But that could change soon, as scientists found a way to increase their efficiency by keeping them cool.

Under normal circumstances, solar panels reach temperatures of more than 55 degrees Celsius (130 F), quickly sapping their efficiency and also shortening their lifespan. Cooling them with additional systems would turn them pretty unfeasible, so another method is required.

Which has already been found by a team of scientists from the Stanford University of California, led by electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan. Their approach involves embedding tiny pyramid- or cone-shaped structures on a very thin layer of silica glass covering the surface of the solar panels.

This way, the unwanted heat, coming in as infrared radiation, is scattered around, leaving the panels work only with the visible light, which is also the most efficient for such applications.

The lab tests returned positive results for the panels covered in the very thin layer of cones, the science team now preparing to test the new system in an outdoor environment.


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