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(MIT Technology Review)   So, perovskite solar cells are 10 years ahead of fusion, but 5 years behind flying cars   (technologyreview.com) divider line
    More: Interesting, Photovoltaics, Solar cell, Solar panels, solar cells, Amorphous silicon, Crystalline silicon, recent studies, solar materials researcher  
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829 clicks; posted to STEM » on 18 May 2022 at 10:03 PM (5 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



8 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-05-18 10:27:39 PM  
I'm still waiting for Pan Am to fly me to the Hilton Hotel in orbit.
 
2022-05-18 10:40:59 PM  
Eh, it's a good place to keep researching for masters degrees and PhDs. But you're competing with silicon solar that is cheaper than coal. What we need is intelligent peak shaving storage solutions.
 
2022-05-18 10:45:30 PM  

wildcardjack: Eh, it's a good place to keep researching for masters degrees and PhDs. But you're competing with silicon solar that is cheaper than coal. What we need is intelligent peak shaving storage solutions.


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2022-05-18 11:12:37 PM  
If only we had something incrementally better than what we have now!

How long do we have to wait before we do something?
 
2022-05-18 11:58:35 PM  
What a bizarre time to be alive. I struggle to find an appropriate metaphor. I wanted to call it the tech-stutter.

Remember how lithium batteries stunted hydrogen development? Remember how compact fluorescents were great for about five years before they got obliterated by LEDs? Remember Beta and VHS? Electric shavers vs. 5 bladed Gillettes vs. straight razors? Paddle wheels vs. propellers for steam ships?

People seem to think there is just this one idea, and that it is just obviously better and that it succeeds on its own merits and that is that. Edison and Tesla have a fistfight and the winner guides human history! That is not how it works. Not at all.

YouTube is wall to wall with "great ideas" and their boosters, which makes for great entertainment, but you read the comments and you find hundreds of experts either saying it won't work, that some cabal is preventing it, or that it is 10 years away, or that it just needs to be funded properly. The BS is knee-deep.

Windpower, solar PV, coal, solar thermal, geothermal, nuclear, wave power, etc. They all suck. Let's start there. There is no one clear winning technology on every dimension. There does not deserve to be techno-imperialism because no one mode of energy generation or storage will be best for all consumers, all nations, all industries, or even one household. That is definitely true. There is no LED of power generation. Utopia does not exist. By definition. We know that, but do we really feel it?

Now what we should do is pick low hanging fruit and use it to replace modes that suck the most, digging ourselves out of a hole. Coal sucks too much. Nuclear sucks quite a bit less while providing a similar profile of services. Gallium arsenide PV has been replaced almost universally by silicon PV, which is cheaper, cleaner, easier to process, durable, and pretty efficient. And it has been developed and improved just about to its limit. It is not great, but it is very very good, consistently. It is an awesome, nearly perfect product. Being human, we think we deserve better.

Perovskites are better... maybe. But not yet. Here is where there is way way too much drama. Perovskite PV might be marginally cheaper, marginally whatever, but it is going to take a while to reach standards that have been set by silicon PV. And part of the delay is that what we have is so good. The standards are high. We have a production infrastructure devoted to it already. It will take time for perovskites to be RandD-ed to the point that they will be better than silicon PV in every way that matters. Meanwhile, people can cheer for perovskites, and thorium, and fusion  without really expecting anything, and they can buy real products that really exist for real people. Consumers should not WANT to be beta testers, and should not be FORCED to be beta testers. Let the eggheads figure it out.

OK. Cockamamie idea time!

As long as the US has more or less given up on competing with China on solar cell production, maybe some US company should start producing some crappy perovskite panels to get the ball rolling. At first, they will be more or less better than nothing. A waste of capital. But there will be a whole lot of learning, and progress, and at the other end, the US might get a huge industry out of it.
 
2022-05-19 12:24:54 AM  
"Should I wait for perovskites?"

No. You should start today. Fark is full of "my next car will be an EV" and it always has been. Your LAST car should have been a hybrid or an EV. If you have a house full of incandescents, swap out half with LEDs and keep the incans as spares, at least. Doing something today is probably going to be better than doing nothing for five years. There are exceptions, but ... not really.

The eggheads will figure the perovskites all out. People are antsy because we are kind of overdue. Where are the cheap EVs to go with our LEDs and cheap solar panels? (Looks at watch) And where is my thorium and fusion?

Meanwhile, there are real products that really work. PV solar particularly has no moving parts. I have not heard a single PV horror story, I think. Hail damage can be a thing.

And to end on a positive note, there were A LOT of Farkers with solar on another thread... with people who have used it since 2015, 2018, etc. Solar is not a bleeding edge technology anymore. That is for sure. Of course that is true for LEDs, hybrids, maybe EVs too as time goes by. Heat pumps, air source heat pumps are basically air conditioners, so people seem to be adopting them rapidly.
 
2022-05-19 2:25:33 AM  
Plus we've also found ways to greatly improve the efficiency of silicon on it's own, with stuff like 'black' silicon (just random sharp-etching of silicon) that GREATLY ramps up its absorptivity.

2fardownthread: "Should I wait for perovskites?"

No. You should start today. Fark is full of "my next car will be an EV" and it always has been. Your LAST car should have been a hybrid or an EV. If you have a house full of incandescents, swap out half with LEDs and keep the incans as spares, at least. Doing something today is probably going to be better than doing nothing for five years. There are exceptions, but ... not really.

The eggheads will figure the perovskites all out. People are antsy because we are kind of overdue. Where are the cheap EVs to go with our LEDs and cheap solar panels? (Looks at watch) And where is my thorium and fusion?

Meanwhile, there are real products that really work. PV solar particularly has no moving parts. I have not heard a single PV horror story, I think. Hail damage can be a thing.

And to end on a positive note, there were A LOT of Farkers with solar on another thread... with people who have used it since 2015, 2018, etc. Solar is not a bleeding edge technology anymore. That is for sure. Of course that is true for LEDs, hybrids, maybe EVs too as time goes by. Heat pumps, air source heat pumps are basically air conditioners, so people seem to be adopting them rapidly.


I mean, my next car will probably be EV, if and when I eventually NEED a car. My current car is NOTHING, but I'm in a country with good public transit and bike paths.
 
2022-05-19 4:57:38 AM  
I want my next car to be an EV, but I live in a rented condo with no garage, no charging infrastructure, and I'm quite certain the COA would not take kindly to me running an extension cord out the window.  And even though I work for the Institute, there's no charger there either.  My town's got some sort of fast charger planned for installation in a parking lot at the nearest highway corner, which is spitting distance from me, but I don't know whether it'd be okay to leave an EV there overnight, either.

So... I wait.  And when the town had its annual meeting earlier this week, I went and voted in favor of the town taking steps to encourage EV charging infrastructure in apartment and condo complexes.  Will see whether they come before I can afford a house.
 
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