The reality of making solar panels with existing technology, however, is much different, involving use of potentially toxic substances and lots of energy. That could change, according to an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine.
In the article, C&EN Associate Editor Sarah Everts describes the beginning of a scientific effort to manufacture solar panels in a way that better fits the public perception. Current silicon-based solar panels, which represent about 80 percent of the global market, are energy-intensive and rely on materials that pose potential health and environmental risks. To be "green," manufacturers must adopt more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and plan for the safe end-of-service-life disposal of the panels, the article notes.
Solar panel manufacturers are already starting to make changes. Some are setting up programs that will collect and recycle panels after their 20-25 year lifespan. Many solar companies are trying to reduce the amount of energy required to produce the panels, while others are trying to change the production process in order to replace toxic materials with more eco-friendly ones. At the same time, manufacturers are faced with the challenge of developing more efficient solar cells, which could require the use of more energy-intensive processes and more materials. "Resolving these challenges — perhaps with new manufacturing processes altogether — will ensure that photovoltaics [solar panels] don't just produce renewable energy but are themselves renewably produced," the article states.
ARTICLE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE "Making Solar Panels Greener"
This story is available at http://pubs.acs.org
Michael Bernstein | EurekAlert!
Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake
12.12.2017 | Duke University
Two holograms in one surface
12.12.2017 | California Institute of Technology
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
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