New Solar Technologies Announced

Artificial Leaves Act As Solar Cells

New Artificial Leaves Act as Solar Cells, Imitating Nature A North Carolina State University researcher and his team has proved that "artificial leaves", which are water-gel-based solar mechanisms, can create electricity just like solar cells. In addition, they are much greener than silicon-based solar cells and could be less expensive.

Dr. Orlin Velev, lead author of the study and Invista Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at NC State, created artificial leaves with the idea of using solar cells to imitate nature more closely.

Velev accomplished this by infusing water-based gel with light-sensitive molecules, and pairing it with electrodes coated by materials such as graphite or carbon nanotubes. The sun's rays then excite the light-sensitive molecules, creating electricity. This closely resembles nature because plant molecules get excited in order to synthesize sugars needed to grow.

Also, in order to draw in solar energy the way nature does, natural products like chlorophyll can be used in the artificial leaves to replace synthetic light-sensitive molecules to create the same reaction. The water-gel matrix in these new leaves allows for both natural products like chlorophyll and synthetic light-sensitive molecules to be used interchangeably......

New Energy Technologies Aims to Turn Windows Into Solar Panels A Maryland-based firm has developed a technology that it says can turn windows into solar panels. New Energy Technologies says that its new SolarWindow product can be directly sprayed on to windows at room temperature to turn them into solar energy generators.

Currently in the prototype stage, it has been demonstrated powering LED lights and the blades of a small model helicopter from the energy generated, say executives.

The product adheres to glass while keeping it transparent, according to the company, which says that it can generate electrical current and voltage from artificial light in addition to sunlight. This makes it suitable for generating electricity from the fluorescent lights found in offices......