Solar Panels Work At Night
Researchers at the Idaho National Laboratory are close to the production of a super-thin solar film that would be cost-effective, imprinted on flexible materials, and would be able to harvest solar energy even after sunset!
Behold the incredible, gorgeous future of energy production.
Imagine the possibilities
The technique involves the embedding of square spirals of conducting metal onto a sheet of plastic, each of which, referred to as a “nano antenna”.
The nano antennas absorb infrared energy, which is absorbed by the earth during the day and released even hours after the sun goes down.
Because the nano antennas can take in energy from both sunlight and the earth’s heat, they have a much higher efficiency (and potential applicability) than conventional solar cells.
The scientific principle isn’t a new one, but the manufacturing process that maximizes efficiency certainly is state-of-the-art. The innovation within nanotechnology is what has allowed the nano antennas to be efficiently embedded to absorb energy in a flexible and inexpensive material.
Many counties don’t have enough land for silicon and concentrated PV panel farms. That’s why thin-film PV cells are the best solution for most counties. Traditional PV Cells are made from silicon. Silicon mining is both costly and environmentally unsound. However, as thin film technology takes over, manufacturing should become more sustainable.
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