Masdar Institute and MIT Collaboration Produce Innovative Solar Absorber That Can Harness More Sunlight, Enhancing its Sunlight-To-Heat Efficiency
Masdar Institute faculty are part of a collaborative team of researchers that has discovered a novel way to significantly increase the amount of sunlight that a solar absorber can convert into heat. By converting more of the solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface into heat in a low-cost way, the solar absorber can help make sustainable technologies that rely on solar heat, like solar thermal technologies, more efficient and affordable.
“Our research team has developed a simple and cost-effective fabrication technique to create solar absorbers that can harness a greater share of the solar spectrum, thus increasing their efficiencies, while also maintaining low emission levels,” said Masdar Institute’s Dr. TieJun Zhang, Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering.
Dr. Zhang co-authored the paper that describes this research, which was published last month in the journal Advanced Optical Materials, with a team of researchers from Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Dr. Nicholas X. Fang, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT and co-principal investigator of the project, said “We are very excited that this MIT-Masdar Institute collaboration has led to new insights in the emerging field of plasmonics, which quantify the interactions between the electromagnetic field and free electrons in a metal. By trapping sunlight with plasmonics, the solar absorber developed by our team can achieve higher efficiency levels. We look forward to testing the overall solar conversion efficiency of the coating materials in the next step of our research. ”
The work contributes to a larger Masdar Institute-MIT research project, which is aimed at developing a solar-powered, combined electrical power plant and cooling system.
The team’s novel fabrication technique involves patterning a solar absorber with tiny holes with diameters less than 400 nanometers (that’s roughly 200 times smaller than the width of a human hair), cut into the absorber at regular intervals.
The tiny holes penetrate the entire absorber greatly enhancing the range of solar energy that can be absorbed. Close to 90% of the all the wavelengths of light that reach Earth’s surface are absorbed by the nano-hole patterned absorber. Unlike traditional solar absorbers, this absorber requires very little material and consists of only two layers: a semiconductor film and a reflective metallic layer, with a total thickness of 170 nanometers.
“This idea can be applied to most conventional solar absorbers. With this unique patterning, the absorbers can be boosted to harvest more solar energy from the ultraviolet and visible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said Masdar Institute postdoctoral researcher Dr. Jin You Lu, who is the paper’s lead author along with MIT postdoctoral researcher Dr. Sang Hoon Nam.
To optimize a solar absorber’s efficiency, it is desirable to maximize the solar absorption and reduce the thermal radiation of heat from the absorber. However, it is challenging to create a solar absorber that can absorb a high level of sunlight while maintaining low thermal radiation losses. As the solar absorber takes in more energy, its temperature increases, causing it to lose energy in the form of thermal radiation.
The sweet spot of a solar absorber then, is that point when optimal levels of sunlight are absorbed with the least amount of energy escaping back into the atmosphere through radiation. Dr. Lu believes they may have found this sweet spot.
“By taking advantage of the ultrathin film coatings and patterning, we are able to maximize the absorption spectrum while keeping the solar absorber’s emission levels quite low,” Dr. Lu explained.
The team is now working to optimize the system with alternative metals for the reflective metallic layer, such as aluminum, copper or silver, which will reduce the costs of the solar absorber even further.
The Latest on: Concentrating Solar Power
via Google News
The Latest on: Concentrating Solar Power
- MENA solar sector set to see USD 15 billion new projects in next five years on February 19, 2019 at 1:56 am
He said energy storage solutions are also becoming more competitive as the costs of PV panel prices, battery storage systems and concentrated solar power technologies continue to decline. […]
- Global Power Generation market scrutinized in new research on February 19, 2019 at 1:26 am
Nuclear Power Reactors, Small Wind, Concentrating Solar Power and others. To reduce the emission of polluting gases, the government have taken some initiatives to use renewable sources for power gener... […]
- Concentrated Solar Power market set for a CAGR of 10% by 2025 on February 18, 2019 at 10:37 pm
The leading players profiled in the Concentrated Solar Power Market report are Brightsource Energy, Areva, eSolar, Acciona, Solar Millennium, Abengoa, Solar Reserve, Siemens, GE, Aalborg CSP and ACWA ... […]
- Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) – from niche to winning technology on February 18, 2019 at 1:34 am
Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants initially won their place on the market thanks to government subsidies. Current trends reveal, however, that development efforts have meanwhile pushed this techno... […]
- Research and development in solar cell technologies providing Lucrative opportunities for the solar energy market by 2022 on February 15, 2019 at 5:30 am
Furthermore, increase in installation of concentrated solar power systems (CSPs) in forms of parabolic troughs and solar power towers is anticipated to fuel the growth of the market, owing to increase ... […]
- As Eskom struggles to keep lights on, NC solar power plant comes online on February 15, 2019 at 2:27 am
On hundred megawatts of electricity is being tapped into the grid after the Kathu concentrating solar power plant started operating at the end of January. SENER Southern Africa's, Siyabonga Mbanjwa, e... […]
- Concentrated Solar Power Market Expected To Accomplish A Valuation Of Around $8.92 Billion By 2025: Grand View Research Inc. on February 14, 2019 at 5:16 am
According to report published by Grand View Research, increasing awareness about renewable energy along with government regulations to control growing carbon footprint is further propelling the concen... […]
- Kathu Concentrated Solar Power (South Africa) constructed by Acciona and SENER came into commercial on 30 January on February 9, 2019 at 3:06 am
With an installed capacity of 100 MW, the Kathu Concentrated Solar Power will allow clean energy to be supplied to 179,000 homes in the Northern Cape region (northern South Africa) and prevent the emi... […]
- French Power Company, ENGIE Begins Operations at South Africa’s 100 MW Concentrated Solar Plant on February 8, 2019 at 11:45 pm
ENGIE, a French multinational electric utility company, has announced that operations on its 100-megawatt (MW) Kathu Solar Park (KSP) in South Africa have begun. The state-of-the-art plant is a green- ... […]
- Global Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Market 2019 Segmentation, Demand, Growth, Trend, Opportunity and Forecast to 2024 on February 7, 2019 at 5:39 am
WiseGuyReports.com adds 'Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Market 2019 Global Analysis, Growth, Trends and Opportunities Research Report Forecasting to 2024 reports to its database. This report ... […]
via Bing News