Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors


Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > UC Merced Professor Receives $1.3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

School of Natural Sciences professor David Kelley received a $1.3M grant to improve luminescent solar concentrators.
School of Natural Sciences professor David Kelley received a $1.3M grant to improve luminescent solar concentrators.

Abstract:
David Kelley and colleagues will attempt to improve luminescent solar concentrators, used to channel solar energy

UC Merced Professor Receives $1.3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Merced, CA | Posted on October 6th, 2009

For years, University of California, Merced, professor David Kelley's research has focused on finding a less expensive method to harness and use solar energy.

While the sun has been used to power small devices such as calculators or landscape lighting, using solar energy on a large-scale basis is costly.

"The technology is good, but it's expensive," said Kelley. "The idea is to make solar energy more practical."

School of Natural Sciences professor Kelley, along with two other UC Merced colleagues, will attempt to do just that by improving existing technology. He received a three-year $1.3 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) that use materials other than silicon as semiconductors.

For his research, Kelley will attempt to improve a device called a luminescent solar concentrator. These concentrators work by absorbing sunlight across a wide area then re-emitting it onto a small photovoltaic cell. It's less expensive to use luminescent solar concentrators because they don't have moving parts that must track light as the sun moves across the sky.

"UC Merced is pleased that the National Science Foundation recognizes the potential of professor Kelley's work," said Samuel Traina, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies. "Research in this area will contribute significantly to reducing costs associated with solar power generation that could, in turn, lead to wider applications of the technology."

While the sun is an inexhaustible, renewable energy source, using it to produce electricity is expensive for two reasons. First, photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight into electricity, are made with silicon, an expensive material to use because of the steps needed to remove impurities. Second, many of those expensive solar cells are needed to collect that energy in order to convert it into electricity.

A problem with existing luminescent solar concentrators - made of solar cells, along with glass or plastic and dye molecules that serve to concentrate the light - is that the dyes are organic and don't hold up over time, Kelley explained. Another challenge is that when sunlight bounces around in the plastic, a lot of it gets reabsorbed into the dye molecules and ends up emitted as heat. That energy never makes it to the solar cell.

Kelley, along with professors Valerie Leppert and Boaz Ilan, will attempt to develop new kinds of luminescent solar concentrators, based on nanotechnology. They will develop semiconductor nanorods to use in solar concentrators, replacing organic dyes. The semiconductor nanorods are cylindrical sections of semiconductors, about 1/1000 the diameter of a human hair.

"Our research will develop the physics to understand how these semiconductors can get rid of the problems of self-absorption," Kelley said. "This has the potential to be a transformative technology in solar energy research."

Leppert, an associate professor in the School of Engineering, will use state-of-the-art equipment such as electron microscopes at UC Merced and at the National Center for Electron Microscopy to examine the synthetic materials' properties and whether they can be optimally used in a solar concentrator.

Using information provided by Kelley and Leppert, School of Natural Sciences assistant professor Ilan, will use mathematic models to theorize how the solar concentrators will perform with the nanorods.

"The hope is that over the three years, we will be able to develop a semiconductor that will do what we want it to do," Kelley said, "or, we'll have a more clear understanding of why we can't."

Professors Kelley and Ilan are both members of the UC Merced Energy Research Institute (UCMERI). UCMERI is a multidisciplinary institute that develops new and improved renewable and sustainable energy generation and storage technologies.

####

About UC Merced
UCMERI's faculty members include mechanical engineers, materials scientists, physicists, environmental engineers, biochemists, computer scientists and social scientists from the Schools of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts.

UCMERI's mission also includes setting the standard for institutional energy efficiency, examining domestic and global energy policy and educating the next generation of energy scholars and practitioners.

For more information, please click here

Copyright © UC Merced

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design: Increased power and slashed energy consumption for data centers August 24th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New theory could lead to new generation of energy friendly optoelectronics: Researchers at Queen's University Belfast and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have created a new theoretical framework which could help physicists and device engineers design better optoelectronics August 23rd, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Announcements

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New microchip demonstrates efficiency and scalable design: Increased power and slashed energy consumption for data centers August 24th, 2016

Tunneling nanotubes between neurons enable the spread of Parkinson's disease via lysosomes August 24th, 2016

Energy

Lehigh engineer discovers a high-speed nano-avalanche: New findings published in the Journal of Electrochemical Society about the process involving transformations in glass that occur under intense electrical and thermal conditions could lead the way to more energy-efficient glas August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers reduce expensive noble metals for fuel cell reactions August 22nd, 2016

Down to the wire: ONR researchers and new bacteria August 18th, 2016

Grants/Awards/Scholarships/Gifts/Contests/Honors/Records

Light and matter merge in quantum coupling: Rice University physicists probe photon-electron interactions in vacuum cavity experiments August 24th, 2016

New flexible material can make any window 'smart' August 23rd, 2016

Researchers watch catalysts at work August 19th, 2016

Curbing the life-long effects of traumatic brain injury August 19th, 2016

Solar/Photovoltaic

Let's roll: Material for polymer solar cells may lend itself to large-area processing: 'Sweet spot' for mass-producing polymer solar cells may be far larger than dictated by the conventional wisdom August 12th, 2016

NREL technique leads to improved perovskite solar cells August 11th, 2016

Making a solar energy conversion breakthrough with help from a ferroelectrics pioneer: Philadelphia-based team shows how a ferroelectric insulator can surpass shockley-queisser limit August 9th, 2016

Tiny high-performance solar cells turn power generation sideways August 5th, 2016

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic