Forum für Wissenschaft, Industrie und Wirtschaft

Hauptsponsoren:     3M 
Datenbankrecherche:

 

Technion Breakthrough: A New Chapter of Solar Energy Conversion and Storage?

13.11.2012
Using the power of the sun and ultrathin films of iron oxide (commonly known as rust), Technion-Israel Institute of Technology researchers have found a novel way to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

The breakthrough, published this week in Nature Materials, could lead to less expensive, more efficient ways to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen-based fuels. This could be a major step forward in the development of viable replacements for fossil fuels.

“Our approach is the first of its kind,” says lead researcher Associate Prof. Avner Rothschild, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. “We have found a way to trap light in ultrathin films of iron oxide that are 5,000 times thinner than typical office paper. This is the enabling key to achieving high efficiency and low cost. ”

Iron oxide is a common semiconductor material, inexpensive to produce, stable in water, and – unlike other semiconductors such as silicon – can oxidize water without itself being oxidated, corroded, or decomposed. But it also presents challenges, the greatest of which was finding a way to overcome its poor electrical transport properties. Researchers have struggled for years with the tradeoff between light absorption and the separation and collection of photogenerated charge carriers before they die out by recombination.

“Our light-trapping scheme overcomes this tradeoff, enabling efficient absorption in ultrathin films wherein the photogenerated charge carriers are collected efficiently,” says Prof. Rothschild. “The light is trapped in quarter-wave or even deeper sub-wavelength films on mirror-like back reflector substrates. Interference between forward- and backward-propagating waves enhances the light absorption close to the surface, and the photogenerated charge carriers are collected before they die off."

The breakthrough could make possible the design of inexpensive solar cells that combine ultrathin iron oxide photoelectrodes with conventional photovoltaic cells based on silicon or other materials to produce electricity and hydrogen. According to Prof. Rothschild, these cells could store solar energy for on demand use, 24 hours per day. This is in strong contrast to conventional photovoltaic cells, which provide power only when the sun is shining (and not at night or when it is cloudy).

The findings could also be used to reduce the amount of extremely rare elements that the solar panel industry uses to create the semiconductor material in their second-generation photovoltaic cells. The Technion team’s light trapping method could save 90% or more of rare elements like Tellurium and Indium, with no compromise in performance.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $1.74 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of chapters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.

Kevin Hattori | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.ats.org

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Improving Geothermal Energy
30.04.2015 | University of Utah

nachricht Digital in-Line Holography Helps Researchers 'See' Into Fiery Fuels
30.04.2015 | Sandia National Laboratories

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: Superzyklen am Plattenrand

Wenn Erdplatten untereinander abtauchen oder kollidieren, bebt die Erde wie jüngst in Nepal. Forscher der ETH Zürich liefern neue Erklärungsansätze für die Entstehung von Superbeben entlang von Subduktionszonen am Beispiel der Küste Japans.

Am 11. März 2011 entlud sich vor der Küste Japans die Spannung zweier verkeilter Erdplatten unter dem Meeresboden und löste einen gewaltigen Tsunami aus.

Im Focus: The random raman laser: A new light source for the microcosmos

Texas A&M University researchers demonstrate how a narrow-band strobe light source for speckle-free imaging has the potential to reveal microscopic forms of life

In modern microscope imaging techniques, lasers are used as light sources because they can deliver fast pulsed and extremely high-intensity radiation to a...

Im Focus: Radiowellen aus dem Weltraum genauer empfangen

Geodäsie ist die Wissenschaft von der Ausmessung und Abbildung der Erdoberfläche. Eine Messmethode nutzt Radiowellen von weit entfernten astronomischen Objekten, um etwa die Bewegung der Erdplatten zu ermitteln. Ein neuer rauscharmer Hochfrequenzverstärker verspricht die dafür nötigen Radioteleskope leistungsfähiger zu machen.

Forscher des Fraunhofer-Instituts für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF in Freiburg entwickelten zusammen mit spanischen Projektpartnern – dem Instituto...

Im Focus: Pulsar with widest orbit ever detected

Discovered by high school research team

A team of highly determined high school students discovered a never-before-seen pulsar by painstakingly analyzing data from the National Science Foundation's...

Im Focus: HOBOS, das Bienenforschungsprojekt auf der Expo

„Den Planeten ernähren, Energie für das Leben“: So lautet das Motto der diesjährigen Expo in Mailand. Wenn es um Ernährung geht, spielen Bienen eine wichtige Rolle. Deshalb ist auch HOBOS, das Bienenforschungsprojekt der Uni Würzburg auf der Weltausstellung vertreten.

Etwa 20 Millionen Besucher erwarten die Organisatoren der diesjährigen Weltausstellung Expo in Mailand. Technologie, Innovation, Kultur, Tradition und...

Alle Focus-News des Innovations-reports >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

IHR
JOB & KARRIERE
SERVICE
im innovations-report
in Kooperation mit academics
Veranstaltungen

Green Summit 2015: Der Gipfel der Essenz

05.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Lebensretter: Extrakorporale Herz-Lungen-Unterstützung

05.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

Center for Metropolitan Studies mit Projekt auf MS Wissenschaft

04.05.2015 | Veranstaltungen

 
B2B-VideoLinks
Weitere VideoLinks >>>
Aktuelle Beiträge

Ribosomen-Entstehung als attraktives Ziel für neuartige antibakterielle Wirkstoffe

05.05.2015 | Biowissenschaften Chemie

Wirbelsäulen-Operationen mit höchster Präzision

05.05.2015 | Medizintechnik

Neonikotinoide: vorbeugender Einsatz von Pflanzenschutzmitteln gefährdet Bienen und andere Insekten

05.05.2015 | Ökologie Umwelt- Naturschutz