Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Wake Forest earns patent for efficient, inexpensive fiber-based solar cells

David Carroll, associate professor of physics at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. is director of the school's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, where recent research breakthroughs led to the formation of two start-up companies, FiberCell and PlexiLight, to commercialize new nanotechnologies.
David Carroll, associate professor of physics at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. is director of the school's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, where recent research breakthroughs led to the formation of two start-up companies, FiberCell and PlexiLight, to commercialize new nanotechnologies.

Abstract:
Wake Forest University has received the first patent for a new solar cell technology that can double the energy production of today's flat cells at a fraction of the cost.

Wake Forest earns patent for efficient, inexpensive fiber-based solar cells

Winston-Salem, NC | Posted on April 17th, 2010

"It comes at a pretty high price to be green," said David Carroll, Ph.D., the director of Wake Forest's Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials, where the fiber cell was developed. "This device can make a huge difference."

The university received the patent for fiber-based photovoltaic, or solar, cells from the European Patent Office; applications to the U.S. Patent Office are pending. The patent on the technology has been licensed to FiberCell Inc., based in the Piedmont Triad Research Park of Winston-Salem, to develop a way to manufacture the cells. The company is producing its first large test cells.

These new solar cells are made from millions of miniscule plastic fibers that can collect sunlight at oblique angles ­even when the sun is rising and setting. Flat-cell technology captures light primarily when the sun is directly above.

Where a flat cell loses energy when the sun's rays bounce off its shiny surface, the fiber-based design creates more surface area to confine the sun's rays, trapping the light in the tiny fiber "cans" where it bounces around until it is absorbed almost completely. That means much greater energy production with fiber-based cells: Wake Forest's fiber cells could produce about twice as many kilowatt hours per day as standard flat cells.

"We've been able to show that with a standard absorber we can collect more of the photons than anyone else can," Carroll said. "Because of the way the device works, I get more power."

To make the cells, the plastic fibers are assembled onto plastic sheets, with a technology similar to that used to create the tops of soft-drink cups. The absorber ­either a polymer or a dye ­ is sprayed on. The plastic makes the cells lightweight and flexible ­a manufacturer could roll them up and ship them anywhere cheaply.

Carroll envisions several key uses for fiber cells:

•Green building: "We've known how to build the ‘smart house,' it's just been too expensive," he said. "The fiber cell can change that." Alter the dimensions and dye color, and builders can integrate the cells nearly anywhere in the home's design. Because fiber cells can collect light at various angles, they no longer have to stay on the roof to work. Partner the cells with devices that could store the power more efficiently, turn off lights and appliances when not in use, and capture and redirect the heat the building radiates at night, and you have a more affordable, energy-efficient structure.

•Bringing power to developing countries: Once the primary manufacturer ships the lightweight, plastic fiber cells, satellite plants in poor countries can spray them with the dye and prepare them for installation. Carroll estimates it would cost about $5 million to set up a finishing plant ­about $15 million less than it could cost to set up a similar plant for flat cells.

•Revolutionizing the power grid: "What if you didn't own your roof," Carroll asked. "What if the power company did?" The fiber cells installed on some homes in each neighborhood would feed the grid, and the power company would monitor energy collection and distribution through a computer network. The homeowner would not maintain the cells; that responsibility would fall to the power company.

####

About Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University’s Center for Nanotechnology and Molecular Materials uses revolutionary science to address the pressing needs of human society, from health care to green technologies. It is a shared resource serving academic, industrial and governmental researchers across the region.

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Press Contacts:
Cheryl Walker
(336) 758-5237


Ellen Sterner Sedeno
(214) 546-8893

Copyright © Wake Forest University

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

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

New Hopes for Treatment of Intestine Cancer by Edible Nanodrug March 2nd, 2015

onic Present breakthrough in CMOS-based Transceivers for mm-Wave Radar Systems March 1st, 2015

Possible Futures

European roadmap for graphene science and technology published February 25th, 2015

Quantum research past, present and future for discussion at AAAS February 16th, 2015

World’s first compact rotary 3D printer-cum-scanner unveiled at AAAS by NTU Singapore start-up: With production funded by crowdsourcing, the first unit will be delivered to the United States in March February 16th, 2015

Nanotechnology Electric Vehicle (EV) Market Analysis Report 2015: According to Radiant Insights, Inc February 13th, 2015

Academic/Education

NanoTecNexus Launches New App for Learning About Nanotechnology—STEM Education Project Spearheaded by Interns February 26th, 2015

SUNY Poly CNSE Researchers and Corporate Partners to Present Forty Papers at Globally Recognized Lithography Conference: SUNY Poly CNSE Research Group Awarded Both ‘Best Research Paper’ and ‘Best Research Poster’ at SPIE Advanced Lithography 2015 forum February 25th, 2015

KIT Increases Commitment in Asia: DAAD Funds Two New Projects: Strategic Partnerships with Chinese Universities and Communi-cation Technologies Network February 22nd, 2015

Minus K Technology Announces Its 2015 Vibration Isolator Educational Giveaway to U.S. Colleges and Universities February 18th, 2015

Announcements

Researchers turn unzipped nanotubes into possible alternative for platinum: Aerogel catalyst shows promise for fuel cells March 2nd, 2015

Important step towards quantum computing: Metals at atomic scale March 2nd, 2015

New Hopes for Treatment of Intestine Cancer by Edible Nanodrug March 2nd, 2015

Graphene Shows Promise In Eradication Of Stem Cancer Cells March 1st, 2015

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

onic Present breakthrough in CMOS-based Transceivers for mm-Wave Radar Systems March 1st, 2015

New Paper-like Material Could Boost Electric Vehicle Batteries: Researchers create silicon nanofibers 100 times thinner than human hair for potential applications in batteries for electric cars and personal electronics February 20th, 2015

Nanotech Discoveries Move from Lab to Marketplace with Lintec Deal: Licensing Partnership Brings Together University Technology, New Richardson-Based Facility Directed by Alumni February 9th, 2015

Graphenea granted patent on graphene transfer February 9th, 2015

Energy

In quest for better lithium-air batteries, chemists boost carbon's stability: Nanoparticle coatings improve stability, cyclability of '3DOm' carbon February 25th, 2015

New nanowire structure absorbs light efficiently: Dual-type nanowire arrays can be used in applications such as LEDs and solar cells February 25th, 2015

Learning by eye: Silicon micro-funnels increase the efficiency of solar cells February 25th, 2015

Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells X-ray study points the way to higher energy yields February 25th, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

New nanowire structure absorbs light efficiently: Dual-type nanowire arrays can be used in applications such as LEDs and solar cells February 25th, 2015

Learning by eye: Silicon micro-funnels increase the efficiency of solar cells February 25th, 2015

Magnetic nanoparticles enhance performance of solar cells X-ray study points the way to higher energy yields February 25th, 2015

Researchers enable solar cells to use more sunlight February 25th, 2015

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







© Copyright 1999-2015 7th Wave, Inc. All Rights Reserved PRIVACY POLICY :: CONTACT US :: STATS :: SITE MAP :: ADVERTISE