Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





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

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

Possible Futures

Sediment dwelling creatures at risk from nanoparticles in common household products August 13th, 2015

Harris & Harris Group Reports Financial Statements as of June 30, 2015, and Announces a Stock Repurchase Program August 10th, 2015

Molecular trick alters rules of attraction for non-magnetic metals August 5th, 2015

Global Carbon Nanotubes Industry 2015: Acute Market Reports August 4th, 2015

Academic/Education

Announcing Oxford Instruments and School of Physics signing a Memorandum of Understanding August 26th, 2015

Kwansei Gakuin University in Hyogo, Japan, uses Raman microscopy to study crystallographic defects in silicon carbide wafers August 25th, 2015

JPK reports on the use of a NanoWizard® AFM-SECM system at the Université Paris Diderot looking at nanoscale biostructures August 18th, 2015

Rice, Penn State open center for 2-D coatings: National Science Foundation selects universities to develop atom-thin materials with industry partners August 13th, 2015

Announcements

Small but heading for the big time: Nanobiotix half year results for the six months ended 30 June 2015, in line with expectations: Major clinical achievements and corporate developments August 28th, 2015

A new technique to make drugs more soluble August 28th, 2015

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanolab Technologies LEAPS Forward with High-Performance Analysis Services to the World: Nanolab Orders Advanced Local Electrode Atom Probe (LEAP®) Microscope from CAMECA Unit of AMETEK Materials Analysis Division August 27th, 2015

Patents/IP/Tech Transfer/Licensing

Developing Component Scale Composites Using Nanocarbons August 26th, 2015

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Update On Hospital Project, PCAOB Audit, and New Heat Shield™ Line August 24th, 2015

Revolutionary MIT-Developed Nanotechnology Company Showcases at CAMX in Dallas August 20th, 2015

'Quantum dot' technology may help light the future August 19th, 2015

Energy

Nanocatalysts improve processes for the petrochemical industry August 28th, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

Industrial Nanotech, Inc. Provides Update On Hospital Project, PCAOB Audit, and New Heat Shield™ Line August 24th, 2015

Novel nanostructures for efficient long-range energy transport August 21st, 2015

Solar/Photovoltaic

CWRU researchers efficiently charge a lithium-ion battery with solar cell: Coupling with perovskite solar cell holds potential for cleaner cars and more August 27th, 2015

Novel nanostructures for efficient long-range energy transport August 21st, 2015

Charge transport in hybrid silicon solar cells August 17th, 2015

Nano Electrolyte Additives Increase Efficiency of Solar Cells August 10th, 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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic