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Browse Solar Photovoltaic Marketing Summaries

Solar Photovoltaic Technology Marketing Summaries

Here you’ll find marketing summaries of solar photovoltaic technologies available for licensing from U.S. Department of Energy laboratories and participating research institutions. The summaries provide descriptions of the technologies including their benefits, applications and industries, and development stage.

135 Technology Marketing Summaries
CategoryTitle and AbstractLaboratoriesDate
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Alternating Current Photovoltaic Building Block

This technology provides a fully integrated and self-containing alternating current (AC) photovoltaic (PV) Building Block device and method that allows photovoltaic applications to become trueplug-and-play devices.

11/01/2016
New!
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TOPHAT™ for the Alignment & Focus of Heliostat Mirror Facets

The Theoretical Overlay Photographic Heliostat Alignment Technique (TOPHAT) is a unique method which helps to accurately and effectively concentrate solar energy onto a receiver. By utilizing a camera/target fixture placed in front of the heliostat TOPHAT aligns and focuses the mirrors on a heliostat. It uses the photographs taken by cameras on the fixture and comparing the location and size of the target patterns with their predicted theoretical images. Adjustments are made to the facets... read more

10/31/2016
Updated!
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Design and Fabrication of Thermochromic Energy-Harvesting Windows

Smart windows, such as electrochromic or thermochromic windows, can intelligently regulate their transparency, allowing for control of transmitted light or heat into building interiors.  In turn, control of transmitted light and heat allows for improved energy efficiency and occupant comfort.  While electrochromic windows are user-controlled and change from a resting transparent state to a light-absorbing state when an external voltage is applied, thermochromic windows avoid the... read more

10/05/2016
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Inverted Metamorphic III-V Tandem Device for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting

The process of photoelectrochemical (PEC) water splitting is a promising pathway for the generation of hydrogen due to its high conversion efficiency and potential for cost efficiency. Additionally, it is a renewable energy technology with relatively simple and inexpensive processes compared to other hydrogen production technologies. However, continued improvements in conversion efficiency, durability, and processing cost are needed to make the technology viable for use in the future... read more

10/03/2016
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Process for the measurement of performance loss due to series resistance in photovoltaic devices under field conditions

An unexpected increase in the series resistance in a photovoltaic module can be a serious problem; not only does the increased resistance reduce current flow  - and hence power generation – from the cell, it can also be an indication of a component failure or other systemic flaw in the device. These failure mechanisms, including broken ribbons, failed solder bonds, or junction box contact issues, can be associated with excess heat and can pose a safety hazard in the device... read more

08/23/2016
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Method for Photovoltaic Maximum Power Point Estimation

With the increased penetration of connected photovoltaic (PV) power systems in large-scale transmission grids and in consumer-scale distribution grids, the conventional rotating machines that have supplied rotational inertia and primary frequency regulation (PFR) on fast time scales are being displaced. The displacement of these conventional rotating machines threatens grid stability due to the time-intermittent outputs of PV plants.

The best way to mitigate the effects of PV energy... read more

08/12/2016
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Purified Silicon Production and Depositing System

Within the photovoltaic (PV) industry, the supply of the required metallurgical-grade (MG) Si feedstock at an acceptable cost is a pain point for manufacturers. One current method for the production and purification of this feedstock is the repetitive porous MG-Si etching, gettering, and surface removal of impurities. While this method is effective in the near-surface region, this process is impractical for the bulk purification of MG-Si feedstock due to the large number of process cycles... read more

08/10/2016
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Hydrogenation of Passivated Contacts

Silicon solar cells have advantages over other solar cells materials in that they are generally less expensive and require fewer steps to manufacture than III-V solar cells, yet are more efficient than today’s thin film materials.  Nevertheless, the efficiency of Si solar cells has historically been limited by carrier recombination losses, particularly at the surface of the cell and at the metal contact interfaces. One approach to reduce recombination losses at the contact... read more

07/07/2016
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Ion Implanted Contacts to Semiconductor Devices

To improve solar cell conversion efficiency, researchers have been focused on making improvements to cell contacts in order to decrease the level of carrier recombination at the cell interface. One way to reduce carrier recombination is to passivate the surface of the cell. Surface passivation generally involves either applying another material onto the surface of the cell or doping the silicon wafer, which may be achieved through a variety of means including ion implantation. While ion... read more

06/23/2016
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Advanced Ultra High Performance InP Solar Cells

Indium Phosphide (InP) is a semiconductor compound typically used in solar cells and high speed electronics. InP has a number of performance benefits compared to other III-V materials due to its higher mean and peak saturation velocities, which result in optoelectronic devices with higher frequency. InP solar cells, with a bandgap of 1.34 eV and high absorption levels, have a strong potential of reaching the Shockley-Queisser theoretical efficiency level of approximately 33%. Despite this... read more

06/23/2016
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Metal-Assisted Chemistry for Anti-Reflection Etching of Silicon

The global market for solar technology is expected to grow by 21% in 2016 to reach a total of 66 GW. With demand for solar cells increasing, there is a renewed focus on improving energy conversion efficiency. One major problem for energy conversion in solar cells is the loss of solar energy due to the high refractive index of silicon. An effective way to reduce the reflective property of silicon is through surface texturing, or etching, which may improve the amount of photon absorption in... read more

06/23/2016
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High-efficiency, monolithic, multi-bandgap, tandem photovoltaic energy converters

Matching a semiconductor’s bandgap to incident photon energy is a well-known method to achieve the most efficient photovoltaic devices.  Since solar radiation consists of a wide range of wavelengths, having one semiconductor with a single bandgap to absorb all solar radiation is highly inefficient.  As such, the use of tandem or multi-bandgap converters having two or more discrete bandgaps to match different wavelengths of solar radiation has led to ultra-high efficiency... read more

06/23/2016
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Optimal Power Flow Pursuit

The desire to improve grid resiliency and enable a sustainable capacity expansion has led to the growth of distributed energy resources (DERs) and the utilization of renewable energy sources. DER allows for smaller amounts of aggregate energy to meet the regular demand of the commercial, industrial, and domestic consumers. When combined with renewable energy sources, the distribution network supplying power is transformed into a smarter and more sustainable grid.

One major challenge in a... read more

06/14/2016
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Solar Glare Hazard Analysis Tool (SGHAT)

With growing numbers of solar energy systems being proposed and installed throughout the United States, the potential impact of glint and glare from photovoltaic modules, concentrating solar collectors, receivers, and other components is receiving increased attention as a potential hazard or distraction for pilots, air-traffic control personnel, motorists, and residents. Hazards from reflection of solar radiation from solar power plants include the potential for permanent eye injury (e.g.,... read more

05/17/2016
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Contact Formation and Gettering of Precipitated Impurities by Multiple Firing During Semiconductor Device Fabrication

 

Photovoltaic (PV) solar cell fabrication often involves the process of “co-firing” where metallic electrical conductors are mechanically and electrically coupled to semiconductor materials to create an electrical p-n semiconductor PV device. For example, during fabrication, an aluminum “ink” would be applied to a back surface (e.g. a p-type region) of a wafer of semiconductor material (such as a silicon wafer). The opposing front surface (e.g. an n-type... read more

04/26/2016
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Thin Film Electronic Devices with Conductive and Transparent Gas and Moisture Permeation Barriers

Transparent conducting (TC) materials are extensively used in electronics and electronic device applications. Presently, the most commercially used material involves indium-tin oxides (ITO) that have an unequalled combination of transparency and conductivity. In general, the conductivity and transparency are inversely related in the most common forms of transparent conductors (i.e. transparent conducting oxides) and ITO provides an optimum balance between the two. However, since indium is a... read more

04/20/2016
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Fast All-sky Radiation Models for Solar applications (FARMS)

 

Radiative transfer (RT) models simulating broadband solar radiation have been widely used by atmospheric scientists to model solar resources for various energy applications such as operational forecasting. Due to the complexity of solving the RT equation, the computation under cloudy conditions can be extremely time consuming though many approximations (e.g. two-stream approach and delta-M truncation scheme) have been utilized. Thus, a more efficient RT model is crucial for model... read more

03/22/2016
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Wafer Characteristics via Reflectometry and Wafer Processing Apparatus and Method

Wafers find a variety of uses in the semiconductor, solar energy and other industries. Wafer quality often depends on variables such as thickness and surface characteristics. Depending on end use, poor quality wafers may have uneven thickness or uneven surface characteristics; whereas, higher quality wafers may have substantially uniform thickness and substantially uniform surface characteristics. In the semiconductor industry, where wafers are used as a substrate, wafer quality can... read more

03/21/2016
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On-line, Continuous Monitoring in Solar Cell and Fuel Cell Manufacturing Using Spectral Reflectance Imaging

Semiconductor wafers are used for a variety of purposes in microelectronics, solar cell, and other industries. Wafer quality often depends on variables such as thickness and surface characteristics. Poor quality wafers may have uneven thickness or uneven surface characteristics; whereas, higher quality wafers will have substantially more uniform thickness and substantially more uniform surface characteristics. Wafer quality can dramatically influence the mechanical and/or electronic yield of... read more

02/19/2016
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Calibrated Permeation Standards

 

Permeation generally occurs by a three-step process. The analyte (e.g., water vapor, oxygen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, hydrocarbon, or another gas) is absorbed into the surface of a permeable material. The analyte then diffuses through the permeable material and outgases from the other side. A permeation standard has a unique transmission rate for a particular analyte under specified testing conditions, such as temperature and relative humidity, so that the detection equipment may... read more

02/03/2016
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Non-contact Electroluminescence Imaging of Outdoor Modules (ROI 14-95)

 

Photovoltaic (PV) module performance can be characterized by imaging using baseline and periodic images to track defects and degradation. Both thermal images, which can be acquired during sunny operating conditions, and photoluminescence (PL) images, which could be acquired at night, can be collected without electrical connection. Electroluminescence (EL) images, which are useful to detect many types of defects such as cracks, interconnect and solder faults, and resistances, have... read more

11/02/2015
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Photovoltaic (PV) Module Level Remote Safety Disconnect

 

The ability to de-energize PV modules in the event of an emergency is of great interest for the firefighting community. A simple, low-cost method to do so involves integrating fault monitoring controls into the junction box of a PV module such that detection of a ground fault, either through local failure or intentional grounding for safety disconnect purposes will result in de-energization of the individual PV module.

Smart bypass diodes in a PV module are already designed to... read more

10/30/2015
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Metal Halide Surface Treatment of Quantum Dots

 

Quantum dot (QD) solids are a solution-processed, composite thin film semiconductor system that is being developed for optoelectronics (display technology, solid state lighting, next generation photovoltaics, photodetector application, etc.). For photovoltaics, in addition to being solution processable, QD solar cells (QDSCs) have a higher limiting single junction power conversion efficiency than is possible using conventional bulk or thin film semiconductors due to enhanced... read more

10/20/2015
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High Aspect Ratio Metallic Structures for Use as Transparent Electrodes

Polymer-based photovoltaic devices have received intense interest in recent years because of their potential to provide low-cost solar energy conversion, flexibility, manufacturability, and light weight.  However, the efficiency of organic solar cells is about 4-6%, and increasing this efficiency is critical for developing practical applications and commercially viable devices.  One approach to increasing efficiency is to increase the light absorption on the organic film without... read more

10/19/2015
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Linearly Polarized Thermal Emitter for More Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Devices

Thermophotovoltaic (TPV) devices can be used to generate power from photons, and consist of a thermal emitter and photodiode. These limitations of photovoltatic (PV) devices solar cells—since sunlight is composed of many different wavelengths, not all incident photons have an energy larger than the energy band gap (Eg) of the semiconducting material of the photodiode and thus, not all photons can contribute to the photo-current. If the thermal emitter of a TPV can absorb all incoming... read more

10/19/2015
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Highly Efficient Multigap Solar Cell Materials

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have invented multiband gap semiconducting materials for developing solar cells that could achieve power conversion efficiencies of 50 percent or higher.

07/15/2015
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High-Frequency Matrix Converter with Square Wave Input

As the use of renewable energy sources increase, there is an increasing need for power converters capable of efficiently converting a diverse input of energy sources to a form suitable for insertion into modern electrical grid systems.  Current renewable energy conversion systems are bulky, inefficient, and generally incapable of efficiently accepting multiple inputs from a diverse pool of energy sources, such as produced by modern, renewable photovoltaic, geothermal and wind energy... read more

04/01/2015
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Hole Blocking, Electron Transporting and Window Layer for Optimized Culn(1-x)GaxSe2 Solar Cells

Polycrystalline copper indium gallium selenide (CuIn(1-x)GaxSe2 or CIGS) based direct bandgap semiconductors are strong candidates for low cost, high-throughput solar energy harvesting thin film photovoltaic devices. State of the art CIGS devices demonstrate 15-18% power conversion efficiencies with best cell performance reaching 20.4%. However, this is well below the theoretical maximum of 32.8% predicted for the identical material composition with a 1.15 eV. The main reasons for this... read more

03/30/2015
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Fabrication of Emissible Metallic Layer-by-Layer Photonic Crystals Using Microtransfer Molding with Electro-Deposition

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for increasing the efficiency of conventional incandescent light bulbs.

03/04/2015
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Efficient Polymer Solar Cells

Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for producing more efficient polymer solar cells by increasing light absorption through a thin and uniform light-absorbing layer deposited on a textured substrate. 

03/04/2015
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Fabrication of Emissible Metallic Layer-by-Layer Photonic Crystals Using Microtransfer Molding with Electro-Deposition

Photonic crystals are optical materials that can be used to control and manipulate the flow of light. Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for the producing photonic crystals that can be used as highly efficient light sources.

03/04/2015
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Encapsulating Materials and Associated Devices

Encapsulant materials are used in a variety of applications to isolate components, areas, or other materials from potentially stressful conditions that can adversely affect the performance of a device. For example, the performance of photovoltaic (PV) modules may decrease over time as water penetrates the module and corrodes the metallic components essential for module function. In the absence of water, corrosion occurs relatively slowly because by-products are less able to diffuse away from... read more

02/27/2015
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Voltage-matched multijunction solar cell architectures for integrating PV technologies

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative aims to reduce the total installed cost of solar energy systems to $.06 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) by the year 2020. Reducing the cost of solar electricity requires that solar cell modules become more efficient and much less expensive. Multijunction (MJ) solar cells present the best option for significantly increasing the absolute module efficiency beyond the single junction Schockley Queisser limit of 33%. To date, MJ solar cell designs have... read more

02/27/2015
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System and Method for Sealing a Vapor Deposition Source

An apparatus for movably sealing a deposition chamber from the rest of a fabrication system under vacuum.

09/26/2014
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Apparatus and Process for the Mass Production of Photovoltaic Modules

A high throughput thin film device manufacturing process that produces stable, high efficiency devices and, at the same time, limits environmental and occupational exposure to toxic compounds.
 

09/26/2014
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Process and Hardware for Deposition of Complex Thin-film Alloys over Large Areas

An instrument and method for depositing thin film alloys over large areas under vacuum. The key features stem from the use of close-space sublimation sources with independent valve and temperature control.

09/26/2014
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Apparatus and Method for Fabricating Thin Film Devices using Heated Pocket Deposition

Apparatus and method for depositing thin films onto a substrate using an advanced thermal deposition technique.
 

09/26/2014
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A Sublimation Method to Create Complex Cadmium/Magnesium/Tellurium Thin Film Alloys

A chemical process for producing complex ternary thin film alloys using evaporative deposition over large areas.
 

09/26/2014
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Advanced Evaporative Deposition System with Embedded Heater Element and Shutter

A device for evaporative deposition of thin films that offers more efficient heating and greater deposition control. Key features include an embedded heater element and a shutter system.

09/25/2014
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Apparatus and Method for Rapid Cooling of Large Area Substrates in Vacuum

This innovation facilitates rapid cooling in a vacuum (from 200 oC to 25 oC) and greatly diminishes the time required to produce complex thin films requiring multiple deposition steps.

09/25/2014
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Fluorine-Modified Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons for Organic Electronics

A chemical synthesis that modifies PAHs via addition of perfluoroalkyl groups. The resulting compounds are novel organic semiconductors with potential application to flexible OLED displays and organic photovoltaics (OPVs).
 

09/25/2014
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Aluminum-doped Zinc Oxide Nanoink

Scientists at Berkeley Lab have developed a method for fabricating conductive aluminum-doped zinc oxide (AZO) nanocrystals that provide a lower cost, less toxic, earth-abundant alternative to the widely used transparent conductive oxide (TCO) indium tin oxide while offering comparable optical and electronic properties. TCOs are used in devices such as flat screen displays, photovoltaic cells, photochromic windows, chemical sensors, and biosensors.

08/15/2014
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Transparent Conducting Oxide

Transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) are utilized in a wide range of opto-electronic applications such as the manufacture of LCDs, touch panel devices, window coatings, and photovoltaic solar cells. Manufacturing involves depositing a metal oxide as the thin film on top of a substrate. Achieving the desired opto-electronic properties of the thin film is typically dependent on the amount of oxygen introduced during the deposition process as it produces a tradeoff between electrical... read more

07/28/2014
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Suite of Photo-electrochemical Technologies for Hydrogen Production

The primary fuel powering new fuel cell technologies is hydrogen. The market for fuel cells is expected to grow tremendously in the near-term as vehicle manufacturers start mass-production of fuel cell vehicles. As the market for fuel cells grows, so too does demand for hydrogen to supply the fuel cells. The two biggest obstacles in the way of hydrogen production are high cost and storage of product. 

While there are multiple methods of hydrogen production,... read more

06/13/2014
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Microsystems Enabled Photovoltaics (MEPV)

Revolutionary microsolar technology utilizes glitter-sized photovoltaic cells to change how we generate and use solar power. The significantly reduced size and 100 times less silicon used, allows for increased versatility of photovoltaic applications. Traditional solar cells are 6” square wafers which restricts location, performance, and manufacturing. Other unique factors to this technology include solar tracking, self assembly, and power management techniques.

02/27/2014
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Substrate CdTe Efficiency Improvements

Thin film solar cells have been the focus of many research facilities in recent years that are working to decrease manufacturing costs and increase cell efficiency. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) has been well recognized as a promising photovoltaic material for thin film solar cells because of its near-optimum bandgap of ~1.5 eV and its high absorption coefficient. Researchers at NREL have found a unique way to dramatically increase efficiencies of substrate-configured CdTe solar cells.

Substra... read more

01/24/2014
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Direct Thin Film Path to Low Cost, Large Area III-V Photovoltaics

A team of Berkeley Lab researchers has invented the first vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) growth technology yielding III-V photovoltaics. The photovoltaics achieve 25% power conversion efficiency at a cost significantly lower than current approaches due to the non-epitaxial processing approach and high material utilization rate.

01/11/2014
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Metal Nitride Catalysts to Enhance Hydrogen Evolution Reactions

This novel and inexpensive composition of cobalt molybdenum nitride offers high catalytic activity for the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) - a critical reaction in a number of growing energy generation and utilization technologies. For example, water electrolysis can transform electrical energy produced by solar cells into chemical fuels that can be more easily stored and transported. HER is one of the two half-reactions in water electrolysis, and the efficiency of catalysts directly... read more

01/10/2014
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Enhanced Thin Film Organic Photovoltaic Devices

A novel structure design for thin film organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices provides a system for increasing the optical absorption in the active layer. The waveguided structure permits reduction of the active layer thickness, resulting in enhanced charge collection and extraction, leading to improved power conversion efficiency compared to standard OPV devices.

01/10/2014
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Interdigitated Electrical Contacts for Low Electronic Mobility Semiconductor Photovoltaic Devices

Structures useful for forming contacts to materials having low charge carrier mobility are described. Methods for their formation and use are also described. These structures include interdigitated electrodes capable of making electrical contact to semiconducting materials having low electron and/or hole mobility. In particular, these structures are useful for organic semiconducting devices made with conducting polymers and small molecules. They are also useful for semiconducting devices... read more

01/09/2014
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Improved Solar Power Plant Efficiency: Low Cost Solar Irradiance Sensor

A University of Colorado research group led by Fernando Mancilla-David has developed a low cost irradiance sensor using a network modeled on a neural network. In this approach, a trained NN algorithm uses a small number of PV cells arranged into a small sensing PV panel, as well as a temperature sensor and a low-cost microcontroller, to directly sense solar irradiance; this data can then be fed back into the MPP tracking algorithm to dynamically improve PV efficiency as conditions change.

... read more

01/08/2014
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Moisture Barrier

Moisture barriers serve as a robust packaging solution to enclose moisture sensitive encapsulated materials. They enable a device, product, substrate, or apparatus which in use will be exposed to moisture, water vapor, freeze thaw cycles or other environmental elements that could compromise the longevity or integrity of the device or product. For example, a photovoltaic cell must able to withstand long durations of rain, snow, fog, dew, environmental contaminants or other substances. The... read more

01/03/2014
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Techniques for Growth of Lattice-Matched Semiconductor Layers

There are many potential applications for high-performance devices fabricated using III-V materials, including high efficiency solar cells, solid-state lighting, and high-speed transistors. In each case, the specific device designs rely on combinations of various materials where the lattice mismatch between the different materials can introduce problems for device performance and the deposition processes can be cost-prohibitive. With each of these markets approaching multi-billion dollars... read more

12/27/2013
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Hot-Wire Chemical Vapor Deposition (HWCVD) technologies

NREL scientists have discovered a unique way to quickly grow epitaxial Si using hot-wire chemical vapor deposition (HWCVD), which holds the potential to greatly decrease costs within the manufacturing of Si substrates.  With NREL’s HWCVD technology, Si material use and costs are dramatically reduced with scalable manufacturing and lower deposition temperatures.  NREL’s unique HWCVD technique can easily be integrated into existing manufacturing processes, allowing... read more

12/27/2013
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Method For Passivating Crystal Silicon Surfaces

The photovoltaic market remains dominated by silicon wafer-based solar cells. Therefore, there is a need for improvements in the manufacturing processes of first generation solar cells that can achieve higher conversion efficiency without exorbitant increases in production cost. Improvements to the minority charge carrier’s lifetime through new manufacturing methods offer the desired increase in overall efficiency without extreme capital costs. There is a need in the art of preparing... read more

12/27/2013
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Electro-deposition of Bi-axial Textured Layers on a Substrate

To be commercially viable, superconducting materials used in various applications must have high critical current densities because high electrical current is required to power any significant load. It has been shown that superconducting materials formed with bi-axially textured layers have superior critical current densities. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed electro-deposited, bi-axially textured buffer layers for depositing a superconducting material onto a substrate... read more

12/27/2013
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dlCC Opt: Optimization Software for Renewable Energy Projects

There are numerous options for renewable energy systems development. Location, size, type of system, and a number of other criteria need to be considered. The objective of this program is to determine the optimal size (capacity, Kilowatt (kW)) of a renewable energy generator, based on minimizing life cycle cost (LCC).

The reason for developing such a program is driven by three major issues. First, the need to evaluate a very large number (tens of thousands) of project opportunity sites.... read more

11/27/2013
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SolOPT: PV and Solar Hot Water Hourly Simulation Software Tool

In order to increase the speed and scale of Renewable Energy (RE) solar project deployment on buildings, energy savings analysis and a strong business case is required. This software provides an hourly simulation to optimize rooftop area for combined solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar hot water (SHW) systems or solely PV. The program calculates energy savings, demand reduction, cost savings, C02 reduction, and building life cycle costs including: simple payback, discounted payback,... read more

11/04/2013
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Renewable Energy Load Matching Software

The most common way of describing the quality of an existing or potential wind or solar power generation site is the total amount of energy expected to be generated based on typical weather patterns. This total amount of energy is characterized by the capacity factor (the ratio between the expected generated amounts to the maximum possible amount for hypothetical conditions of constantly blowing wind or sunshine for a 24 hour period). The capacity factor gives a correct estimate for the... read more

10/30/2013
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Indium Phosphide Polycrystalline Films on Metal Foil for PV Applications

Berkeley Lab researcher Maxwell Zheng and colleagues have developed technologies for economic, high volume production of high optical quality polycrystalline indium phosphide (InP), with optical properties nearly identical to those of InP on single-crystal wafers, on low cost metallic substrates. The technologies reduce costs at both the growth stage and in downstream processing.

10/24/2013
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Improved Organic Photovoltaics

Traditionally, photosensitive optoelectronic devices such as solar cells have been constructed of a number of inorganic semiconductors. Purity and crystalline grain size are a large determinant of efficiency in these cells. The smaller the grains and the more impure the material, the lower the efficiency. The drawback to using these typical inorganic photovoltaic (PV) materials is that processing is often quite expensive and energy intensive. Pure monocrystalline silicon, currently a common... read more

10/17/2013
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Smart Solar Rooftops

Solar panels, or photovoltaic panels, use photovoltaic cells to create energy. These cells create direct current through absorption of sunlight's photons by silicon, allowing electrons to be stripped from atoms. The direct current is then inverted and either stored in a battery or immediately used for energy. The current silicon-based solar cells have a limiting efficiency of about 30% for a variety of reasons. Current cells can only absorb a portion of the light the sun produces, and... read more

10/17/2013
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Improved Dye-Sensitized Solar Cell (DSSC) for Higher Energy Conversion Efficiency

A University of Colorado research group led by Rich Noble has developed a novel approach to dye-sensitized solar cells that increases solar-to-electrical energy conversion.

10/17/2013
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Novel Class of Nanohybrids for Construction of Light Harvesting Systems

Semiconducting single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) have unique electronic and optical properties for diverse optoelectronic applications, including photovoltaics, photodetectors and photoswitches. SWCNT-porphyrin molecular complexes are promising candidates for light harvesting applications, due to their long-lived charge separated states and efficient charge-transport behavior of SWCNTs. In the natural light-harvesting complexes, the electron transfer from the porphyrin pigment to the... read more

10/17/2013
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Optical Method for Automated Real Time Control of Elemental Composition, Distribution, and Film Thickness in CIGS Solar Cell Production

The solar industry has shown significant growth over the past decade. From 2002 to 2007 the market for Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) grew at a 60% annual rate and it is estimated that the global CIGS market will grow to $7.6 billion by 2016.

CIGS solar cells are one of the most promising material systems for thin-film PV because of their proven efficiency advantages over other thin film materials such as cadmium telluride and amorphous silicon. Because of extreme competition and... read more

10/16/2013
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50 kW Power Block for Distributed Energy Applications

 

Distributed energy (DE) systems have begun to make a significant impact on energy supply and will certainly affect energy needs in the future. These systems include, but are not limited to, photovoltaics (PV), wind turbines, micro-turbines, fuel cells, and internal combustion (IC) engines.  Beyond these generation systems, energy storage and electric vehicles are expected to have an increasing impact. The PV-inverter market alone totaled $7.2 billion in 2011 and is expected... read more

08/05/2013
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Optical Furnace offers improved semiconductor device processing capabilities

Manufacturers of semiconductor devices in the microelectronic and photovoltaic industries have long been plagued by the costs of wafer fabrication. Currently, process steps such as phosphorous diffusion, aluminum alloying, coating deposition, hydrogen passivation and contact formation must be completed at extremely high temperatures. In addition to the substantial cost of heating the system, high process temperatures can introduce impurities and reduce the overall quality of a device. ... read more

07/31/2013
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Apparatus for measuring minority carrier lifetime using liquid conductor

Solar power generating capacity has grown from 83 MW in 2003 to over 7,200 MW in 2012, in the U.S. alone. As the solar industry grows, there is a significant need for quality control and testing methodologies. Both testing and quality control of photovoltaics (PV) and power electronics are essential to innovation and efficient production. Accurately testing new materials and manufacturing techniques in a quick and simple way can lead to unique insights and reduced manufacturing costs and... read more

06/27/2013
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Photoelectrochemical Semiconductor Surface Fortification via Ion Implantation

Producing hydrogen from clean sources of energy has been one of the major challenges of hydrogen production. While production from fossil fuel processes has been the norm, one of the most promising clean technologies has been hydrogen production through photo-electrochemical (PEC) cells. The three main hurdles of PEC hydrogen production have been efficiency, durability, and cost of production. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that for photo-electrochemical water splitting to be... read more

06/06/2013
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Increasing Solar Efficiency through Luminescent Solar Concentrators

For years, scientists have sought to harness energy from the sun, using lenses and mirrors to focus and track sunlight, or photovoltaic cells to absorb and convert sunlight to electricity. Their goal is for solar energy to reach “grid parity”—that is, for its cost to become comparable to that of more traditional sources of energy like coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power. Thus far, however, converting sunlight into electric power has proved to be prohibitively expensive.

... read more
05/29/2013
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Precise Application of Transparent Conductive Oxide Coatings for Flat Panel Displays and Photovoltaic Cells

Argonne has developed a new method for applying thin film coatings of transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) to large panel displays and photovoltaic (PV) cells.

05/28/2013
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Self-powered Gating and Other Improvements for Screening-engineered Field-effect Photovoltaics

 

IB-3094

Berkeley Lab scientists Alex Zettl and William Regan have developed a straightforward technology that enables fabrication of high efficiency, single junction photovoltaic (PV) cells from inexpensive, abundant, and nontoxic materials—notably metal oxides and sulfides. Berkeley Lab’s field-effect p-n junction lowers manufacturing costs and increases the efficiencies of PV cells and other electronic devices without the need for costly chemical doping... read more

05/21/2013
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Linearly Polarized Thermal Emitter for More Efficient Thermophotovoltaic Devices

Ames Laboratory researchers have developed fabrication methods for a polarized thermal emitter than can be used to create more efficient thermophotovoltaic devices for power generation.

04/22/2013
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Nanowire Solar Energy Harvesting
Nanowires have the potential to enhance scattering and absorption of light in PV applications while retaining their single-crystal structure. The scientists developing this capability welcome the opportunity to unite with industry and advance its potential.
04/04/2013
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Photovoltaic Films
The rising total cost of energy is fueling new markets for solar power.
As solar moves beyond traditional niche markets and into multi-billion-
dollar mainstream markets, advanced technologies will separate the winners from the losers. While the short-term market driver remains focused on production cost of photovoltaic solar cells, the rapid pace of materials science and nanotechnology innovation is expected to enable radical and disruptive new solar product architectures over the next... read more
04/04/2013
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Photovoltaic Theory and Modeling
The scientists developing this capability welcome the opportunity to unite with industry and advance its potential.
04/04/2013
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Aligned Crystalline Silicon (ACSi)
This technology, which produces thin films that approach the high-performance aspects of single-crystalline silicon, has been proven and replicated in the laboratory and results have been published in a peer-reviewed journal [Findikoglu et al., Adv. Mater. 17, 1527 (2005)].
04/04/2013
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PAD: Polymer-Assisted Deposition of Metal-Oxide and Metal-Nitride Films
Polymer-Assisted Deposition (PAD) works with a wide range of metal-oxide and metal nitride films. Simply put, “problematic” metal oxides and metal nitrides are not a problem for PAD. PAD can be used for the high-quality deposition of metal oxides and metal nitrides for the successful production of both simple and complex metal-oxide films such as TiO2, ITO, SrTiO3, TiN, AlN, and GaN. In addition, nitrides, sulfides, and carbides could potentially be deposited using this process.
04/04/2013
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Low Cost TiO2 Nanoparticles
Current methods of producing titanium dioxide nanoparticles require costly surfactants and/or high temperature and pressure processing. Processing under these conditions results in nanoparticles with extremely wide particle size distributions and significant particle agglomeration. These problems are the primary reasons why TiO2 has had such difficulty transitioning from the laboratory to the marketplace. However, discrete, uniform TiO2 nanoparticles show great  potential in numerous... read more
03/19/2013
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High Efficiency Multiple-Junction Solar Cells
Single junction solar cells have limited efficiency and fail to extract maximum energy from photons outside of a specific spectral region. Higher efficiency and optical to electrical energy conversion is achieved by stacking semiconductor p-n junction layers to capture energy from all spectral regions. 
03/19/2013
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Diffraction: Enhanced Light Absorption of Solar Cells and Photodetectors
The solar and photovoltaic industry has grown steadily over the last several years.  In order to maintain these growth rates, the processes and methods need to be continuously improved.  Sandia National Laboratories has created a method for enhanced light absorption of solar cells and photodetectors in a narrowband or wideband spectral absorption.
03/19/2013
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Heterojunction for Multi-Junction Solar Cells
Sandia National Laboratories has created a semiconductor p-n heterojunction for use in forming a photodetector that has applications for use in a multi-junction solar cell and detecting light at an energy greater than 0.95-1.2 eV. 
03/12/2013
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Solar Reflection Panels
There has long been a need for a low cost, high-performing solar collector that will allow solar thermal power to compete with other power sources.  While advancements have been made, a need for a cost effective and durable solar collector still exists.  Sandia National Laboratories has developed a solar collector that is more efficient, utilizes advanced and low cost manufacturing process, and has good optical properties.
03/12/2013
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Energy Surety Microgrid™
The Energy Surety Microgrid™ (ESM) is a Risk Assessment Methodology (RAM) which is a vulnerability assessment for the critical power delivery functions and needs of a community. The microgrid serves as a predecessor to the larger-scale smart grid making it more specific to serve hospitals, military bases, residential communities, emergency response, etc. in utilizing renewable energy sources when traditional sources fail or are inadequate.
03/12/2013
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Techniques of Nanoscale Silicon Texturing of Solar Cells
Sandia National Laboratories has created a technology that produces an antireflective (matte) surface on a silicon photovoltaic solar cell.  The process uses a randomly deposited metal catalyst followed by reactive ion etching (RIE) to produce nanoscale surface features.  The texture of the cells is more effective in solar absorption and, therefore, storage of energy. This nanoscale texturing is also a cost effective and environmentally safe tool for a renewable energy source.
03/12/2013
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Toward Improved Hybrid Solar Cells (IN-07-053)

In an effort to help build a sufficient supply of clean energy, scientists from Argonne National Laboratory have developed a method to create improved hybrid solar cells through the ultraviolet polymerization of a polymer precursor.

02/27/2013
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Efficient Nanostructured Silicon (Black Silicon) PV Devices

Antireflective (AR) coatings on solar cells increase the efficiency of the cells by suppressing reflection, which allows more photons to enter a silicon (Si) wafer and increases the flow of electricity. Traditional AR coatings however, add significant cost to the solar cell manufacturing process. NREL scientists have devised a method and created a nanostructured Si wafer, or black Si, which eliminates the need for a traditional AR coating while achieving comparable or higher solar cell... read more

01/08/2013
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Method for Creating Photonic Band Gap Materials

Innovative microstructures that can direct light in a manner similar to the way semiconductors can influence electrons can be produced by creating what is termed a photonic band gap. These microstructures have the potential to change the way optoelectronic devices, such as photodiodes, LEDs, and integrated optical circuit elements, are designed and used. Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a method for creating photonic band gap materials that is economical and does not require the... read more

12/06/2012
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Enhanced Light Extraction from Organic Light Emitting Diodes
Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a soft lithography microlens fabrication and array that enables more efficient organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), improving their commercial viability.
12/06/2012
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Controlled Metal Photodeposition

A reliable syntheses of semiconductor-metal heterostructure has been developed to enable application of materials in catalytic, magnetic, and opto-electronic devices, and Iowa State University, The Ames Laboratory's Contractor, is looking for industry partners to commercialize this technology.

12/06/2012
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Economical Pyrite-Based Solar Cells

The first generation of solar cells, used in 90% of today's cells, have a focus of high efficiency. These cells use a single p-n junction to extract energy from photons, and are manufactured from silicon semiconductors. This allows for about 30% efficiency, but resulted in a price too high to compete with fossil fuels (payback time of about 5-7 years). The second generation of solar cells focuses on low production costs using thin film cells, which resulted in much lower efficiency rates.... read more

11/09/2012
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Early Stage R&DSuperhydrophobic Transparent Glass Thin Films
Glass used in building materials (curtain walls), windshields, goggles, glasses,
optical lenses, and similar applications must be durable and transparent. To meet
this challenge, ORNL researchers have invented a method to produce durable,
superhydrophobic, antireflective glass thin films for coating such surfaces.
Other processes exist for producing materials with the desired qualities,
including superhydrophobic and antimicrobial surfaces; however, in most cases
the resulting materials exhibit poor... read more
09/24/2012
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Superhydrophobic Thin Film Coatings
Exploiting its expertise with thin films and superhydrophobic materials, ORNL has developed a simple, inexpensive way to apply and reliably bond superhydrophobic powder to various substrates, creating coatings that are both transparent and water repellant.

09/24/2012
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Transparent Conductive Nano-Composites

Indium Tin Oxide, the most widely used commercial transparent conducting coating, has severe limitations such inflexibility, high processing temperatures for fabrication, increasing cost of raw materials and breakability.


 

09/24/2012
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Nano Particles – Supercritical Fluid Process

Scientists at Idaho National Laboratory have invented a new method of producing quantum particles of varying dimensions by employing supercritical fluid process. The process exposes a single source precursor to a supercritical fluid, such as carbon dioxide, scientists developed a process to form nanoparticles for use in semi-conductor devices.

08/31/2012
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Directly-irradiated Two-zone Solar Thermochemical Reactor for H2O/CO2 Splitting

Solar Thermochemical Reactor Produces Syngas

A thermochemical reactor has been developed to produce syngas, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide from concentrated solar energy, water, and carbon dioxide. The solar reactor efficiently produces affordable hydrogen that can be used directly as fuel. The reactor features dual zones for the simultaneous reduction and oxidation through the continuous cycling of metal oxide to split water and carbon dioxide. The physical contact area... read more

08/07/2012
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Tunable Nanocrystalline CZTS for Solar Photovoltaics with No Required Annealing

Thin-film solar cells are expected to replace the current first generation of solar photovoltaic technology due to their lower manufacturing cost and increased electrical output. Nanocrystal cells, one of the second generation of solar photovoltaics, offer the advantage of tunable optical and electrical properties, allowing manufacturers to optimize the cell’s power output. Although these cells offer many advantages, current forms of the technology must be annealed in order to increase... read more

07/26/2012
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Cost-Effective Replacement for Iodide in Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) are used to create electrical energy from sunlight. The cell has three components: the cathode, the photoanode, and the electron transfer medium (ETM). The ETM commonly contains iodide salts and other components. Current forms of DSSCs are noted for their durability and cost effectiveness; however, the volatile and corrosive nature of the salts used in the cell limit the materials that can be used to construct the cell. For example, the cathode material... read more
07/13/2012
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Citizen Engagement for Energy Efficient Communities (CoNNECT)
Promoting energy efficiency is a primary focus for achieving sustainable energy. There have been many programs that target the use of energy efficient technologies. But to increase the likelihood of achieving desired energy savings, citizens need to go beyond one-time improvements that are often not monitored and measured over time. By allowing consumers to easily analyze and share their own energy usage data, an effective and sustainable way of achieving energy efficiency goals can emerge.
07/11/2012
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Organic-Inorganic Complexes Containing a Luminescent Rare Earth-Metal Nanocluster and an Antenna Ligand, Luminescent Articles, and Methods of Making Luminescent Articles
Battelle has developed a material capable of spectral conversion, that is, absorbing light across a broad range of wavelengths and re-emitting this light in a narrow wavelength range. These materials can then be integrated into devices to convert solar radiation into energy. In one implementation, this material can be applied to a solar cell to enhance the absorption efficiency of the solar cell. In a second implementation, this material can be placed between two panes of glass, and used to... read more
06/11/2012
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Nanohybrid Solar Cells Consisting of Self-Assembled Semiconducting Single-Wall Carbon Nanotube and Covalent Organic Polyhedrom (COP)-Fullerene Core-Shell
A research team at the University of Colorado at Boulder led by Wei Zhang has developed a novel method to engineer a new class of self-assembling materials for photovoltaic applications.
06/01/2012
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Third-Generation Solar Cells Using Optical Rectenna

Solar panels are designed as a photovoltaic module. The energy producing aspect of the photovoltaic module has two primary steps. The first is a semiconducting material such as silicon that can absorb the photons from sunlight, knocking electrons from atoms to produce a flow of electricity. The next step is conversion of the electricity into direct current through an array of solar cells.

The first generation of solar cells, used in 90% of today’s cells, have a focus of high efficiency.... read more

03/28/2012
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Grid-Interactive Electric Vehicle DC-Link Photovoltaic Charging System

The transportation sector currently accounts for 70% of petroleum consumption and more than a third of green house gas emissions in the US. Studies have shown that  major reductions in GHG emissions can be accomplished by transitioning to battery powered automobiles. However, the large battery systems required could be problematic due to high cost in combination with limited specific energy, safety issues, as well as limited cycle and calendar life. 

A DC-to-DC converter takes a direct... read more

03/28/2012
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High Aspect Ratio Metallic Structures for Use as Transparent Electrodes
Metallic structures that can be used as transparent electrodes or to enhance the performance of solar cells or LEDs.
03/23/2012
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Process for Fabrication of Efficient Solar Cells

Ames Laboratory researchers have developed a process for fabrication of solar cells with increased efficiency. 

03/23/2012
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Sputtered Thin Film Photovoltaics
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has developed a suite of processes for the fabrication of bulk and sputtered thin film copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) and related materials for photovoltaic (PV) applications.
03/19/2012
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Polyanionic Polymers with High Alkali-Ion Conductivity and Wide Electrochemical Windows
As mobile electronics continue to evolve, the need for high-output, long-lasting rechargeable batteries has grown tremendously. In the search for suitable materials from which to construct high energy density solid state batteries, one of the principal obstacles has been the provision of a suitable electrolyte that exhibits the right combination of conductivity and ion mobility, consistency, wide electrochemical window, and good adherence to electrode surfaces. Very few electrolytes have been... read more
03/13/2012
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Environmentally Benign Electrolytes With Wide Electrochemical Windows
As mobile electronics continue to evolve, the need for safe, long-lasting rechargeable batteries has grown tremendously. In the search for suitable materials from which to construct high energy density solid state batteries, one of the principal obstacles has been the provision of a suitable electrolyte that exhibits the right combination of conductivity and ion mobility, consistency, wide electrochemical window, and good adherence to electrode surfaces. Very few electrolytes have been... read more
03/13/2012
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Wide Electrochemical Window Solvents
Typical electrolyte solvents for use in liquid or polymer electrolyte solutions include alkyl ethers and alkene carbonates. These solvents are used to dissolve electrolyte solutes and/or rubberizing polymer additives to form electrolyte solutions which may be used in electrochemical devices. However, these materials have significant disadvantages. Ethers are volatile and have low dielectric constants, while carbonates are unstable around alkali metals and have high melting points.
03/13/2012
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Electrolytes for Lithium Ion Batteries
As mobile electronics continue to evolve, the need for high-output, long-lasting rechargeable batteries has grown tremendously. In the search for suitable materials from which to construct high energy density batteries, one of the principal obstacles has been the provision of a suitable electrolyte that exhibits the right combination of conductivity and ion mobility, stability, and wide electrochemical window. Very few electrolytes have been developed thus far that exhibit the above combination... read more
03/13/2012
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CdTe portfolio offers commercial ready high efficiency solar

At production costs less than $.80/Watt, Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin film technology exists as the lowest cost per watt choice for solar technology.  This characteristic is due partly to the single-phase nature of the absorber layer and the ease with which the CdTe source material can be formed into thin films required for module production.

During the 20+ years of research, NREL’s CdTe Group has directed its efforts at producing CdTe structures that allow more light to... read more

02/21/2012
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Low-cost, Modular, Building-integrated Photovoltaic-Thermal Collector

Buildings consume approximately 40% of the energy, and nearly 70% of the electricity used in the United States. Building surfaces are well suited to renewable energy production. The surface area of a typical residence is large enough to produce the electricity required to operate the building. However, in order to achieve net-zero energy use, solar thermal collectors are often required to produce hot water for domestic and space heating needs or pre-heated ventilation air.
Current problems... read more

12/16/2011
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Lithium/Sulfur Batteries Based on Doped Mesoporous Carbon
A sulfur/carbon composite material was prepared by heat treatment of doped mesoporous carbon and elemental sulfur at a temperature inside a stainless steel vessel, which was used in lithium/sulfur batteries that were tested in electrolytes.
10/25/2011
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Novel Photoconductive Decay Measurement System
This invention provides a nondestructive, contactless means to measure the recombination of lifetime of a wide range of semiconducting and photoconducting materials. 
10/06/2011
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Using Ionic Liquids to Make Titanium Dioxide Nanotubes
Since self-organized TiO2 nanotube (NT) arrays were first reported in 1999, there has been increasing research interest due to their comparably larger surface area, chemical stability, biocompatibility and the ability to provide an excellent electron percolation pathway for vectoral charge transfer between interfaces. The most commonly used fabrication method is anodization of titanium metal in aqueous or organic polarized electrolytes baths containing fluoride species such as NH4F, HF, or NaF.... read more
10/04/2011
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Quick, Efficient Film Deposition for Nanomaterials
Researchers at ORNL developed a process for manufacturing a thin film from a layer of particles, as well as complex three dimensional devices. The nanomaterials are deposited, and then rapidly fused into a functional, multi-material thin-film. The process saves time and energy compared to conventional methods.

A significant challenge in conventional thin film production is the need to use multiple deposition and annealing steps for introducing and reacting each of the elements which comprise a... read more
10/04/2011
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Ultra-Fast Quantum Efficiency Solar Cell Test

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s 2010 International Energy Outlook, solar energy is expected to grow globally by 12.7% per year until 2035; more than any other renewable energy source. To meet this demand, the renewable energy industry must develop and manufacture photovoltaic (PV) cells that are less expensive, more reliable, and more efficient in converting solar energy into electricity.

Quantum efficiency (QE) is the standard test which indicates how... read more

07/08/2011
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Cavity based furnace for wafer screening

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that a $1 per watt installed photovoltaic (PV) solar energy system - equivalent to 5-6¢/kilowatt hour (kWh) — would make non subsidized solar competitive with the wholesale rate of electricity, nearly everywhere in the United States.  In order to reach this goal, manufacturers in the highly competitive solar manufacturing industry have placed a greater focus on two important aspects of their processes - throughput and efficiency.... read more

04/06/2011
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Nanostructured Photovoltaics:

Argonne National Laboratory and partner Northwestern University have invented a nanostructured photovoltaic device that allows dramatic cost savings of up to 70% compared to crystalline silicon solar cells.  Photovoltaic manufacturing is an emerging industry that promises a carbon-free, nearly limitless source of energy for our nation.  However, the high-temperature manufacturing of conventional silicon-based photovoltaics is extremely energy-intensive.  The nanostructured... read more

04/05/2011
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Superhydrophobic Coatings
ORNL researchers have developed a variety of materials and processes to produce coatings with superhydrophobic properties (i.e. coatings that repel water extremely efficiently), providing  potential benefits ranging from reduced drag and increased fuel efficiency in maritime vessels, avoidance of ice accumulation on airplane wings, increased capacity in pipes and hoses, and improved performance of medical implants.
03/29/2011
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Carbon Nanohoops: Molecular Templates for Precision Nanotube Synthesis
Ramesh Jasti and Carolyn Bertozzi of Berkeley Lab have developed a technique to build carbon-ring “nanohoops,” molecular building blocks for the formation of carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanohoops might serve as seeds, or templates, for the efficient and large-scale synthesis of nanotubes of exceptional precision and uniformity. Nanohoops are cycloparaphenylenes, carbon-ring structures that are the smallest sub-units of “armchair” nanotubes, which have unique electrical and... read more
01/21/2011
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Tunable Graphene Electronic Devices
Alex Zettl and colleagues at Berkeley Lab have induced a two-dimensional superconducting order on a graphene sheet and tuned its material properties—transition temperature, critical field, and critical current—via an electrostatic gate. The technology enables the properties of diverse electronic devices to be controlled by the simple addition of dopants (or coatings) combined with the application of an electric field via external circuitry. In addition to control, properties of... read more
01/21/2011
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GaP/Silicon Tandem Solar Cell with Extended Temperature Range
NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) innovators have developed unique, tandem photovoltaic cells (or “solar cells”) in configurations that offer improved performance at an extended temperature range.
01/04/2011
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Microbially Mediated Method for Making Semiconductor Nanoparticles
To address the commercial need for bulk production at a reasonable cost, ORNL researchers developed a microbially mediated method for the production of semiconductor nanoparticles. This invention also offers a means of microbial synthesis that yields a purer and more uniform product.
12/08/2010
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High Volume Method of Making Low Cost, Lightweight Solar Materials
A critical challenge for solar energy is the high cost (>$1/W) of quality solar materials. Researchers at ORNL have invented an approach for producing large volumes of solar cell material at a fraction of the cost of today’s solar cells. The concept combines ORNL’s unique pulse thermal processing (PTP) capabilities with standard highvolume manufacturing techniques to improve the performance of extremely low cost solar cell materials. The idea entails roll-to-roll manufacturing... read more
12/08/2010
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MEMS-Based Pyroelectric Thermal Energy Scavenger
A new type of microelectromechanical system (MEMS ) high efficiency heat energy converter, or scavenger, was invented by ORNL researchers. This device is based on temperature cycled cantilevered pyroelectric capacitors. The scavenger converts thermal waste heat to electricity that can be used to monitor sensor systems, or recycled to provide electrical power while simultaneously reducing thermal cooling requirements. Given the current state of global industry, which discharges over 100... read more
12/07/2010
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Black Silicon Etching
The global photovoltaic (PV) industry has seen approximately 30% growth each year for the past 15 years, leading to a $10 billion industry. The PV industry is looking to lower the high costs and increase the efficiency of solar power. Scientists at NREL have designed a new process, Black Silicon Etching, that has a confirmed conversion efficiency of 16.8% in a cell without conventional antireflection coatings. This surpasses the previous black silicon record by 2.9%. Additionally, this new... read more
08/02/2010
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Organic Photovoltaic Cells with an Electric Field Integrally-Formed at the Heterojunction Interface
Standard solar cells made from inorganic semiconductors, such as silicon cells, have dominated the photovoltaic market since their inception in the 1950’s. First generation solar cells are a proven source for renewable electric power generation and currently possess the highest solar conversion efficiencies available for commercial sale. Unfortunately, these efficiencies are offset by high economic and environmental costs. Traditional Multi and Mono Crystalline Silicon solar cells... read more
07/28/2010
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Hot Electron Photovoltaics Using Low Cost Materials and Simple Cell Design
"Third-generation" PV technologies are being actively pursued in academic research labs. These include nano-optics, multi-junction architectures, multi-exciton, plasmonics, and lower cost tandem cells. The goal is a module cost of less than $0.60/watt. Many of these technologies are in exploratory or early research stages but still can be evaluated according to their material requirements, processing complexity, and potential scalability. For example, concepts that utilize... read more
07/28/2010
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Processing Iron Pyrite Nanocrystals for Use in Solar Cells
For solar energy to become an economically viable energy source, alternative semiconductor materials to be used in solar cells must be found. Silicon, the longtime standard for solar cells, is expensive to process and in ever-growing demand. Thin films made of CdTe (cadmium telluride) and CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) have potential, but their raw material sources are too limited to meet the world’s growing energy needs.
06/23/2010
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Thinner Film Silicon Solar Cells
Berkeley Lab scientists have designed a new approach to create thin film silicon solar cells with a potential increase in photon energy conversion of up to 20%, a significant improvement over conventional thin film photovoltaic technologies. By using thinner photon energy absorber layers requiring less silicon than conventional photovoltaic devices of similar photon absorptive power, the technology also promises to lower solar cell material costs.
02/12/2010
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Material Independent Design of Photoluminescent Systems Based on Alignment of Polar Molecules in Charged Surface
A design and method to produce new forms of photoluminescent (PL) matter (whose constituent materials need not be photoluminescent) to form materials useful in bio-imaging, energy storage, composite materials, etc. Non-luminescent particles can be transformed into PL materials with this methodology.
02/03/2010
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Fermentative Method for Making Nonoxide Fluorescent Nanoparticles (Quantum Dots)
A fermentative method for scalable, economical production of tailored quantum dots.
02/03/2010
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Thermal Management Using Carbon Nanotubes
Optimal thermal management, especially in such cases as microelectronic packaging, requires thermal interface material with high heat carrying capacity. Although individual carbon nanotubes exhibit high thermal conductivity, aggregate forms of nanotubes lose this property due to processing that result from their aggregation.
02/03/2010
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Pulse Analysis Spectroradiometer System (PASS) Software
Flashing artificial light sources are used extensively in photovoltaic module performance testing and plant production lines. There are several means of attempting to measure the spectral distribution of a flash of light; however, many of these approaches generally capture the entire pulse energy. We report here on the design and performance of a system to capture the waveform of flash at individual wavelengths of light. Any period within the flash duration can be selected, over which to... read more
02/02/2010