Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

DOE outlines research needed to improve solar energy technologies

15.08.2005


To help achieve the Bush Administration’s goal of increased use of solar and other renewable forms of energy, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science has released a report describing the basic research needed to produce "revolutionary progress in bringing solar energy to its full potential in the energy marketplace." The report resulted from a workshop of 200 scientists held earlier this year.

"The tax credits contained in the historic energy bill signed by President Bush will greatly help expand the use of renewable energy," said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of DOE’s Office of Science. "This research will help improve a critical component of renewable energy, solar technology, in the future. Increasing the use of renewable energy is a clear way to help meet our growing energy needs using environmentally-friendly power sources."

"This report demonstrates the important contribution the entire scientific community can make to the development of new sustainable energy resources," Orbach said. "Science and basic research can and must play a key role in addressing the energy security needs of our nation."



Every hour more energy from sunlight strikes the Earth than is consumed on the planet in a year. Yet today, solar electricity provides only approximately one thousandth of the total electricity supply. The report notes that a "huge gap between our present use of solar energy and its enormous undeveloped potential defines a grand challenge in energy research" and that "sunlight is a compelling solution to our need for clean, abundant sources of energy in the future."

The report notes that progress in the proposed research could lead to: artificial "molecular machines" that turn sunlight into chemical fuel; "smart materials" based on nature’s ability to transfer captured solar energy with no energy loss; self-repairing solar conversion systems; devices that absorb all the colors in the solar spectrum for energy conversion, not just a fraction; far more efficient solar cells created using nanotechnologies; and new materials for high-capacity, slow-release thermal storage.

The report further notes that revolutionary breakthroughs come only from basic research and that, "We must understand the fundamental principles of solar energy conversion and develop new materials that exploit them."

Solar energy conversion systems fall into three categories: solar electricity, solar fuels and solar thermal systems. Workshop participants considered the potential of all three approaches. They identified 13 priority research directions with the "potential to produce revolutionary, not evolutionary, breakthroughs in materials and processes for solar energy utilization." Cross-cutting research directions include: coaxing cheap materials to perform as well as expensive materials; developing new solar cell designs that surpass traditional efficiency limits; finding catalysts that enable inexpensive, efficient conversion of solar energy into chemical fuels; and developing materials for solar energy conversion infrastructure, such as transparent conductors and robust, inexpensive thermal management materials.

Jeff Sherwood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.doe.gov

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cell with 21.9 % Efficiency: Fraunhofer ISE Again Holds World Record
20.02.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

nachricht Six-legged robots faster than nature-inspired gait
17.02.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Impacts of mass coral die-off on Indian Ocean reefs revealed

21.02.2017 | Earth Sciences

Novel breast tomosynthesis technique reduces screening recall rate

21.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Use your Voice – and Smart Homes will “LISTEN”

21.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>