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(Stanford University)   Scientists create solar cell entirely from carbon. Where's your dirty energy now?   (news.stanford.edu) divider line 36
    More: Ironic, carbon, solar cells, Stanford University, chemical engineer, buckyballs, carbon nanotubes, thin films, Graphene  
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3065 clicks; posted to Geek » on 31 Oct 2012 at 2:09 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-31 02:15:05 PM
laboratory-measured efficiency: 1%. Ah yeah. Wake me when it catches up to silicon, CdTe, or other current tech.
 
2012-10-31 02:15:24 PM
Well what do you know? A newer invention made something viable.

It's a good thing early adopters and the government never wasted money on trying to shove through economically wasteful technology. It would be completely foolish to try and ram a square product into the round hole of common sense....
 
2012-10-31 02:16:11 PM
Stanford University has a tag?
 
2012-10-31 02:17:53 PM
Meh. Solar cells are getting cheaper and cheaper, but until some way of economically storing the electricity is found, it's never going to be a serious player.
 
2012-10-31 02:19:51 PM
The other day I was curious about carbon-carbon composites. It turned out that you could basically grow a solid piece of carbon composite in a carefully controlled oven by passing acetylene through the matrix. So a square yard of panel costs $100k, cheap right?

Carbon's only a cheap material when yanked from the ground. Modify it and you have a valuable commodity.
 
2012-10-31 02:38:38 PM
I want a Shipstone.
 
2012-10-31 02:43:18 PM

wildcardjack: Carbon's only a cheap material when yanked from the ground. Modify it and you have a valuable commodity.


With exception to these, of course:

applesofgold.com
 
2012-10-31 02:50:06 PM

Bruxellensis: wildcardjack: Carbon's only a cheap material when yanked from the ground. Modify it and you have a valuable commodity.

With exception to these, of course:

[applesofgold.com image 304x314]


Diamonds would be dirt cheap if it was not for DeBeers. They're shiny rocks and they are not actually very scarce.

It's also very cheap to mine diamond, because you use slave labor.

/all natural diamonds are blood diamonds
//don't fool yourself.
 
2012-10-31 03:07:33 PM

fluffy2097: Bruxellensis: wildcardjack: Carbon's only a cheap material when yanked from the ground. Modify it and you have a valuable commodity.

With exception to these, of course:

[applesofgold.com image 304x314]

Diamonds would be dirt cheap if it was not for DeBeers. They're shiny rocks and they are not actually very scarce.

It's also very cheap to mine diamond, because you use slave labor.

/all natural diamonds are blood diamonds
//don't fool yourself.


No arguments here. Regardless of reasons why, they are forms of carbon that have high value.
 
2012-10-31 03:09:32 PM

mark12A: Meh. Solar cells are getting cheaper and cheaper, but until some way of economically storing the electricity is found, it's never going to be a serious player.


I beg to differ. My house is 100% solar powered (over the course of the year, with net-metering). My office is 30% solar powered.

A number of our hotel and housing projects (in Hawaii, California and Minnesota) are also partially powered with on-site solar. When Marriott is starting to roll-out rooftop solar power, the technology is becoming a serious player. Link

Taking into account all solar installations (including thermal), 2011 solar power capacity is equal to that of 245 nuclear power plants. Link

And there are a number of storage solutions that are already in operation today, largely pumped-hydro and molten salt.
 
2012-10-31 03:14:48 PM

Bruxellensis: fluffy2097: Bruxellensis: wildcardjack: Carbon's only a cheap material when yanked from the ground. Modify it and you have a valuable commodity.

With exception to these, of course:

[applesofgold.com image 304x314]

Diamonds would be dirt cheap if it was not for DeBeers. They're shiny rocks and they are not actually very scarce.

It's also very cheap to mine diamond, because you use slave labor.

/all natural diamonds are blood diamonds
//don't fool yourself.

No arguments here. Regardless of reasons why, they are forms of carbon that have high value.


Raw diamonds are cheap to the point of being near worthless. MODIFY THAT with careful cutting and faceting and you have a valuable commodity. QED.
 
2012-10-31 03:21:56 PM

wildcardjack: Raw diamonds are cheap to the point of being near worthless. MODIFY THAT with careful cutting and faceting and you have a valuable commodity. QED.


Yes, cutting does increase value significantly, but they're not near worthess. Otherwise people would be cutting quartz for jewlery, no?

/gawd, I love the geek tab!
 
2012-10-31 03:26:21 PM

MrSteve007: mark12A: Meh. Solar cells are getting cheaper and cheaper, but until some way of economically storing the electricity is found, it's never going to be a serious player.

I beg to differ. My house is 100% solar powered (over the course of the year, with net-metering). My office is 30% solar powered.

A number of our hotel and housing projects (in Hawaii, California and Minnesota) are also partially powered with on-site solar. When Marriott is starting to roll-out rooftop solar power, the technology is becoming a serious player. Link

Taking into account all solar installations (including thermal), 2011 solar power capacity is equal to that of 245 nuclear power plants. Link

And there are a number of storage solutions that are already in operation today, largely pumped-hydro and molten salt.


Plus, these are pretty close to prime time: http://www2.technologyreview.com/article/412190/tr10-liquid-battery/ Although, I guess it's technically 'molten salt'.
 
2012-10-31 04:14:03 PM
It has already been demonstrated by other researchers that the length of a carbon nanotube determines the frequency it absorbs. Using mixed lengths will boost efficiency.
 
2012-10-31 04:37:22 PM
I beg to differ. My house is 100% solar powered (over the course of the year, with net-metering). My office is 30% solar powered.

So you have no storage at home. During the day, your surplus goes to other homes. During the night you are TOTALLY dependent on powerplant output.

And there are a number of storage solutions that are already in operation today, largely pumped-hydro and molten salt.

Pumped hydro is economical, but still dependent on local landscape. Molten salt is STILL not as economical as plain old lead-acid batteries. And lead acid storage is still more expensive than conventional power plant generated power.

Like I said, solar will never be an economically competitive base load. It can certainly help cut down on fossil fuel use, but can't replace it until someone comes up with a really cheap way of storing the energy.

Solar power will not take off until fossil fuel gets expensive. And that ain't happening for at least another 100 years.
 
2012-10-31 04:39:55 PM

Bruxellensis: wildcardjack: Raw diamonds are cheap to the point of being near worthless. MODIFY THAT with careful cutting and faceting and you have a valuable commodity. QED.

Yes, cutting does increase value significantly, but they're not near worthess. Otherwise people would be cutting quartz for jewlery, no?

/gawd, I love the geek tab!


Refractive index yada yada. Posted while in line at tax office to do truck registration.
 
2012-10-31 04:53:33 PM

wildcardjack: Bruxellensis: wildcardjack: Raw diamonds are cheap to the point of being near worthless. MODIFY THAT with careful cutting and faceting and you have a valuable commodity. QED.

Yes, cutting does increase value significantly, but they're not near worthess. Otherwise people would be cutting quartz for jewlery, no?

/gawd, I love the geek tab!

Refractive index yada yada. Posted while in line at tax office to do truck registration.


Exactly.

/long lines?
 
2012-10-31 05:25:52 PM
Self-powered carbon nanotube space elevator!
 
2012-10-31 05:55:26 PM

CognaciousThunk: laboratory-measured efficiency: 1%. Ah yeah. Wake me when it catches up to silicon, CdTe, or other current tech.


Why are the fficiecy levels getting lower and lower with each of these solar panels? We should just find a deep enough hole to put spent nuclear rods and have loads of energy...
 
2012-10-31 05:56:04 PM
e

oops, dropped this on the floor, it goes up there somewhere
 
2012-10-31 06:35:42 PM

dready zim: CognaciousThunk: laboratory-measured efficiency: 1%. Ah yeah. Wake me when it catches up to silicon, CdTe, or other current tech.

Why are the fficiecy levels getting lower and lower with each of these solar panels? We should just find a deep enough hole to put spent nuclear rods and have loads of energy...


That's actually a neat idea, if the efficiency can be extended further into infrared (i.e., thermophotovoltaic) and the cells can survive extended radiation exposure. As long as the nasty stuff stays inaccessible to would-be dirty bombers, why not harvest that wasted heat? On the other hand, you'd probably want the expensive stuff that consumes the power and people that go with it nearby so it doesn't all get lost in transmission. I'd think home values on nuclear waste dump lands would be worse than Detroit....
 
2012-10-31 07:06:20 PM
I'm still producing metane, subby.
 
2012-10-31 07:08:29 PM

dready zim: e

oops, dropped this on the floor, it goes up there somewhere


That's why they're not efficient. You lazy e dropper, you.
 
2012-10-31 07:09:29 PM

RedVentrue: I'm still producing metane, subby.


And there I went and dropped my h.
 
2012-10-31 07:49:35 PM

MrSteve007: A number of our hotel and housing projects (in Hawaii, California and Minnesota) are also partially powered with on-site solar. When Marriott is starting to roll-out rooftop solar power, the technology is becoming a serious player.


I can see Hawaii and California, but Minnesota? Who gets to shovel snow off the panels when it's 20 below?
 
2012-10-31 08:11:38 PM

CognaciousThunk: laboratory-measured efficiency: 1%. Ah yeah. Wake me when it catches up to silicon, CdTe, or other current tech.


To be fair, cost is actually a factor now that electronics-grade silicon isn't basically the same price as dirt anymore. So conceivably if the manufacturing process is cheap enough carbon could win even at like a tenth the effectiveness/area of Si tech. Especially since the goal of C-based is more because carbon structures are amenable to printing, meaning you can carpet-bomb entire buildings in the stuff without setting up some special infrastructure.

In theory, obviously. Though a slightly different printable tech is past the proof of concept stage and literally being plastered on some test skyscrapers as we speak.

Basically, there's room for a wide array of technologies in the field, a lot of different niches and optimizations to fill.
 
2012-10-31 08:43:20 PM

RedVentrue: RedVentrue: I'm still producing metane, subby.

And there I went and dropped my h.


The letters are slippery t night!
o
 
2012-11-01 01:19:04 AM

CognaciousThunk: laboratory-measured efficiency: 1%. Ah yeah. Wake me when it catches up to silicon, CdTe, or other current tech.


Not even that, 0.46% based on what's in the abstract (haven't bothered to VPN to read the article) and that's with an ITO electrode, not graphene. Overall it seems pretty weak, plus they are using bulk nanotubes, no way to get a good efficiency with that.

/Seriously, that gets into ACS Nano?
 
2012-11-01 04:24:12 AM

mark12A: I beg to differ. My house is 100% solar powered (over the course of the year, with net-metering). My office is 30% solar powered.

So you have no storage at home. During the day, your surplus goes to other homes. During the night you are TOTALLY dependent on powerplant output.

And there are a number of storage solutions that are already in operation today, largely pumped-hydro and molten salt.

Pumped hydro is economical, but still dependent on local landscape. Molten salt is STILL not as economical as plain old lead-acid batteries. And lead acid storage is still more expensive than conventional power plant generated power.

Like I said, solar will never be an economically competitive base load. It can certainly help cut down on fossil fuel use, but can't replace it until someone comes up with a really cheap way of storing the energy.

Solar power will not take off until fossil fuel gets expensive. And that ain't happening for at least another 100 years.


WTF am I reading?

Price in the negative exernalities of fossil fuels and renewables are already on par.
 
2012-11-01 05:57:29 AM
Also, when did silicon become so rare and expensive that we have to put up with carbon at less than 1% efficient?
 
2012-11-01 07:20:15 AM

dready zim: Also, when did silicon become so rare and expensive that we have to put up with carbon at less than 1% efficient?


that 1% is nothing to worry for a technology that was just born yesterday.
The first internal combustion engines had a crapy efficiency compared with contempoary steam engines.
 
2012-11-01 11:38:57 AM

mark12A: Meh. Solar cells are getting cheaper and cheaper, but until some way of economically storing the electricity is found, it's never going to be a serious player.


You don't have to store the electricity. For example you can:

use it to pump water uphill behind a dam, then release it through the turbines making electricity when you need it.
or
use it to break hydrogen from water, then store the hydrogen in tanks.
or
use it to pump air into the ground using earth like a large air compressor tank, when you need juice you release the air through a turbine making electricity.

And those are just what sticks out in my mind. There are clever ways to "store" energy that don't require storing electricity. You are always gonna have losses but those can be calculated to figure the cost per kwh on the downstream end.
 
2012-11-01 02:16:22 PM

mark12A: So you have no storage at home. During the day, your surplus goes to other homes. During the night you are TOTALLY dependent on powerplant output.


Not exactly, I choose to send my excess power to the homes around me during the day (since I'm at work during the day, and the house systems are largely shutdown, it makes more sense efficiency wise), and use the regular grid (which is almost 100% hydro and wind powered here in Seattle). However I have a battery bank large enough that it more than covers my energy needs during the evening and nights. As of now, the battery systems only kick on during power outages, but some days, I run off of battery power, just because I can.

Home Batteries: (110 amp/hour @ 48 volts)
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Work Batteries: (450 amp-hour @ 48V)
sphotos-e.ak.fbcdn.net
 
2012-11-01 02:21:45 PM
Those liquid metal batteries I linked to are able to turn off-peak energy into instant on-peak-demand energy; are robust and backed by MIT and Bill Gates.
 
2012-11-02 07:16:14 AM
To those people who are all like "LOL Solar only works in the day so therefore is useless" there is this really new (like under 2000 years) idea where you can store power in these new fangled things called `battrees` (trees with bats in) The trees absorb the sun in the day and make food for the bats who then fly around at night. Tying a bit of string to the bats will let you power a millwheel when the sun is underneath the disc of the earth.

Simple when you think about it.
 
2012-11-04 01:48:52 AM
Meh, The oil companies will be all over this stuff and we'll never see it in our lifetime.
 
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