Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Updated Solar Energy
Currently, solar energy technology is what staff writers for Space Daily call "mechanically brittle and reliant on a relatively rare mineral." So, researchers are seeking improvements. Mark C. Hersam, Tobin J. Marks, and Vladimir N. Ipatieff (from Northwestern University) are leading current research, and have actually come up with a new way of harvesting solar energy: using carbon-based materials. The new technology is very flexible and could even be placed in fabric and clothing, which Space Daily says "enabl[es] portable energy supplies that could impact everything from personal electronics to military operations." The carbon nanotubes would also be more accessible because of their more reasonable price (carbon is obviously not a "rare" material like the current indium tin oxide that requires the element indium).
I think it is great to see that people are working to improve solar energy, because this means they have faith in it. They think there will be a great demand for this alternative energy in the future and thus it needs to be efficient. Making solar energy more cost-efficient should attract more potential users, and hopefully its popularity will continue to grow!
Here is the source of my story and picture: http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Researchers_use_carbon_nanotubes_to_make_solar_cells_affordable_flexible_999.html