Photovoltaics is a science that examines light-electricity conversion. Conversion of solar energy carried by photons is transformed by solar cells into direct-current electrical energy. Interest in the use of photovoltaic (PV) solar technologies is growing rapidly, as it will permit the direct production of electricity from solar radiation without any harmful emissions or noise. Rising energy costs, the finite nature of fossil fuels and worries about climate change has renewed interest in making the benefits of PV technology more affordable and readily available.
The European Commission, through the Renewable Energies Unit of DG JRC’s Institute for Environment and Sustainability, is the scientific co-ordinator of a Thematic Network “Photovoltaic Network for the Development of a Roadmap for PV (PVNET). This network brings together representatives of relevant research and development (R&D) and production areas in photovoltaics. Their main task is to stimulate communication within the whole PV community by organising expert meetings, workshops and symposia, and disseminating the information gathered therein. The Workshop on European RTD Strategies for Photovoltaics, held on 30 & 31 May, in Ispra, Italy, was such a gathering. This Thematic Network is being carried out in the framework of the specific research and technological development programme "Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development" within the 5th Framework Programme funded by the European Commission. The project started in December 2001 and will last for two years.
PVNET aims to foster collaboration among European industry and the scientific community and to draw a Roadmap for European PV research and development (R&D). This will lead to an increase of both competitiveness and vitality in the European PV industry, through the formation of a comprehensive strategy for research, marketing, products, human resources and development by formulating a viable strategy for directing the future of European RTD in photovoltaics. The world market for PV has grown rapidly over the past several years, at about 25 % annually. It has grown even higher (38%) in the last five years. The average market growth of PV is compared to the growth of the microelectronics market in its early stage of development. It reflects very strong growth in virtually all PV markets such as telecommunications, remote power, utilities and agriculture as well as in building integrated grid-connected. The workshop organised at the Ispra site had the following aims:
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In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.
Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...
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