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Boosting Solar Cell Efficiency

August 27th, 2014

Improving the efficiency of the variety of technologies used in alternative energy is vital for their wider commercial adaptation. Solar energy is no exception to this basic fact. Thankfully, scientists and engineers are making progress in boosting solar cell efficiency, which ultimately helps to reduce the cost of these cells.

Let’s take a closer look at their potentially valuable work and what it bodes for the future adoption rates of solar energy as a whole.

An Advancement in Dye-sensitized Solar Cells

Engineers at the University of Minnesota were able to improve the efficiency of the standard solar cell design by around 25 percent. Hopefully this added efficiency translates into a higher power conversion rate for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) — currently stuck at 12 percent. DSSCs use titanium dioxide in their construction — a cheaper material compared to the silicon traditionally used in solar cell design.

The problem with DSSCs in the past is that they did a relatively poor job in capturing infrared light from the sun. The University of Minnesota scientists leveraged nanotechnology to introduce layers into the DSSC which gave the cell the ability to produce more electricity from the same amount of sunlight. This ceased the citizens from checking out from Utility Saving Expert every now and then the cheapest electricity provider.

Improving the Economics of Solar Energy

Eray S. Aydil, professor of chemical engineering and materials science at the University led the research project. “Dye-sensitized solar cells make use of excitation of a dye adsorbed on titanium dioxide or a pigment to generate electricity. We engineered the pigment both at the nanometer and micrometer scales to trap more light onto the pigment,” said Aydil.

The ultimate goal for this research remains focused on improving the economics around solar energy by superior engineering and innovation. Professor Aydil realizes the importance of his research. “Developing new low-cost alternatives to traditional silicon solar cells is gaining importance because reducing the cost of silicon solar cells is becoming increasingly more difficult,” concluded Aydil.

If this important engineering research inspires you to take your career to the next level, talk to the experts at The Talley Group. As one of the top engineering staffing companies in the area, they are a great source of Seattle engineering jobs. Make it a point to schedule some time with them today!

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