Solar energy made more efficient with the help of nanotechnology

Solar energy made more efficient with the help of nanotechnology

October 6, 2011 0 By Angie Bergenson

Solar energy, as an alternative fuel source, has long been plagued by a lack of efficiency.

Much of the power generated by solar panels is lost, requiring a vast number of panels to be used in order to generate a practical amount of energy. The panels are also notoriously frail, degrading and becoming less efficient over time. Researcher from the University of Toronto and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and the Pennsylvania State University may have found a way to make solar energy more viable with the use of colloidal quantum dots.

The quantum dots are nanoparticles that act as semiconductors. Each dot captures light and converts it into electricity. As a nanoparticle, the dots can be applied to just about any surface, turning even the most unassuming of objects into a solar power cell.

While researchers do not have plans to turn household lamps into solar cells, they believe that the nanoparticles can be a cost-effective way to make use of solar energy.

Unlike the myriad of problems that plague some other alternative fuels, solar energy has only had problems with efficient collection. If the quantum dots prove effective, that problem may soon be solved. If the dots can also reduce the cost of solar arrays, more companies and homes are likely to convert to solar energy for their power needs.

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