Organic Solar Collection by ProQuest


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									                                                                                             DONNA COVENEY, MIT / COURTESY OF NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

    W o r l d      T r e n d s         &      F o r e c a s t s

Technology                                                                               Marc Baldo, associate professor of electrical
                                                                                         engineering and computer science (left), and
Organic Solar Collection                                                                 Shalom Goffri, postdoc in MIT’s Research
A breakthrough in concentrated photovoltaics may soon be available.                      Laboratory of Electronics, hold examples of
                                                                                         organic solar concentrators.

                                    NICOLLE RAGER FULLER / NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION
       evisiting a largely
       abandoned concept
       from three decades
ago, a research team at MIT
has developed a new solar
concentrator that is cost-
effective as well as energy-
efficient. Advocated as a
better way of utilizing the
sun’s energy output, and
practically doubling the
performance of existing so-
lar panels while greatly sim-
plifying the process, this de-
v e lo pm e n t c o uld m ake
photovoltaic systems much
more commercially viable in
the coming years.
   Most large-scale solar
power operations are set up
as systems of rotating mir-
rors that follow the path of
                                    An artist’s representation shows how a dye-based luminescent solar concentrator could help make
the sun over a wide region
                                    existing solar panels more efficient. Dye molecules coated on glass absorb sunlight and reemit it at
and channel its rays into so-       different wavelengths.
lar cells — silicon-based
collect and store the energy.                                                                        Solar cells can be attached to the
Cooling systems are in con-                                                                          edges of the organic solar con-
stant use to keep the large                                                                          centrators. By collecting sunlight
solar panels containing the                                                                          over their full surface and concen-
devices from overheating.                                                                            trating it at their edges, these
                                                                                                     devices reduce the required area
This method is less effec-
                                                                                                     of solar cells and, consequently,
tive, more expensive, and                                                                            the cost of solar power. Stacking
more cumbersome than it                                                                              multiple concentrators allows the
should be, critics have long                                                                         optimization of solar cells at each
complained. The result is                                                                            wavelength, increasing the overall
that energy from fossil fuels                                                                        power output.
i s c u r re n t l y st ill m u c h
cheaper to produce on a
large scale. However, that may films of organic color dyes that are semiconducting material, and do not
change soon, thanks to the MIT re- applied in specific ratios to the sur- require extensive cooling systems or
searchers, led by assistant professor face of the glass panels. The light is separate panels to house them. The
of electrical engineering Marc Baldo.         then reemitted through the glass to “windows” themselves also occupy
   In the MIT project, luminescent so- small solar cells positioned around less s
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