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
- Solar Energy Market Boosted Due to Rooftop Installations of Solar Panelson May 12, 2020 at 6:31 am
Allied Market Research recently published a report titled Solar Energy Market by Technology Photovoltaic Systems and Concentrated Solar Power Systems by Solar Module Monocrystalline Polycrystalline ...
- ACWA Power and Silk Road Fund cement partnership agreementon May 10, 2020 at 11:57 pm
ACWA Power has announced the completion of the transaction to introduce Silk Road Fund as a partner and a 49% shareholder in ACWA Power Renewable Energy Holding Ltd.
- Saudi ACWA Power, Silk Road Fund complete partnershipon May 10, 2020 at 10:12 pm
The platform capitalizes on the rapidly growing potential for renewable energy in emerging markets and currently owns ACWA Power’s concentrated solar power, photovoltaic solar, and wind assets across ...
- Solar Electric Power Generation Market 2020 Competitive Analysis - Enel SpA, Exelon Corp., Dominion Energy, Inc, Engie S.A, Canadian Solar Incon May 8, 2020 at 12:01 am
Solar Electric Power Generation Global Market Report 2020 The solar electric power generation market consists of sales of ...
- Space Force will test solar power transmission during X-37B space plane’s next mystery flighton May 7, 2020 at 1:33 am
B space plane is sent into orbit this month, it will try out a technology that’s been more than a decade in the making: space-based solar power.
- Concentrated renewable energy capacity rises to 379 MWon May 3, 2020 at 1:00 pm
The concentrated renewable energy capacity for electricity generation in Tunisia reached 379 megawatts (MW) in 2019, against 115 MW in 2010. According to data published by the Ministry of Energy, ...
- A breakthrough approaches for solar poweron May 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm
The Met Office says it has probably been the sunniest April on record and the solar power industry reported its highest ever production of electricity (9.68GW) in the UK at 12:30 on Monday 20 April.
- The worldwide race to make solar power more efficienton April 30, 2020 at 4:22 pm
One of the few parts of the UK economy to have a good April was solar power, The Met Office says it has probably been the sunniest April on record and the solar power industry reported its highest ...
- Concentrated Solar Power Market 2020 With Major Market Players Abengoa, SolarReserve, Acciona, ACWA Power, BrightSource Energy, Suntrace, GE Energyon April 30, 2020 at 7:32 am
Concentrated Solar Power CSP Market Report published by Allied Market Research forecasts that the global Concentrated Solar Power market was valued at 3 793 0 million in 2018 and is projected to reach ...
- Dubai, Abu Dhabi go head to head in solar pricingon April 30, 2020 at 2:35 am
Dubai Electric and Water Authority (DEWA) has awarded the fifth phase of a solar park project to a consortium led by ACWA Power claiming a new record price.
via Bing News