Solar Charger

A reader contacted me and asked if she could write an article about solar power for my blog. I am greatly honored. I love solar power. I think it is green, clean and renewable. Below is her article.

Universityof southern California experts indicate us a more effective use of graphene solar panels

Can you imagine people powering their cell phone or music/video device while jogging on a sunny day?

A University of Southern California team has produced flexible transparent carbon atom films that may have great potential for a new breed of solar cells.

Inside a paper recently published by the journal ACS Nano, researchers stated that organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells have been proposed as away to get cost effective energy due to their ease of manufacture, lightweight, and compatibility with flexible substrates.

This work shows that graphene, a highly conductive and highly transparent form of carbon consisting of atoms-thick sheets of carbon atoms, has high possibility to fill this role.

While graphene’s existence has been known for many years, it has only been studied extensively since 2004 due to the impossibility of manufacturing it in high quality and in quantity.

The University of southern California team has produced graphene/polymersheets ranging in sizes approximately 150 square centimeters that in turn can be used to create dense arrays of flexible organic photovoltaic (OPV) cells.

These organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices convert solar radiation toelectricity, but not as efficiently as silicon cells.

The power provided by sunlight on a sunny day is around 1,000 watts permeter square, for every 1,000 watts of sunlight that hits a squaremeter area of the standard silicon solar cell, 14 watts ofelectricity will be generated, Organic solar cells are lessefficient; their conversion rate for that same 1,000 watts ofsunlight in the graphene-based solar cell could be only 1.3 watts.

But what graphene organic photovoltaic (OPV) lack in efficiency, canpotentially be compensated by its lower price and, greater physicalflexibility.

Researchers think it may eventually be possible to cover with inexpensive solarcell layers extensive areas like newspapers, magazines or powergenerating clothing.

In the meanwhile Prof. Ruoff and his colleagues of the mechanicalengineering department at the University of Texas at Austin, arestudying the basic science in the introduction of graphene-based ultra capacitors for use in electronics and various fields.

Prof. Ruoff says batteries are relatively slow, they can store energy but require some time to charge up, and then they distribute energy slowly, in time.

Ultra capacitors can be charged very quickly, within seconds, and discharge quickly,but, today, they’re not able to store very much electrical energy.

The development of stable and less costly ultra capacitors could be a key step in using wind or solar-generated power, especially if researchers will find approaches to enable capacitors to store energy longer, which is not yet possible.

Even with their current storage capacity, the graphene devices could provide quick energy when needed in certain situations on the greenway.

They could be used, for example, to absorb the heat generated in braking a car or train, and store it for a short time, and then employ it for the electrical needs of the vehicle (i.e. starting the automobile or acceleration)

About the Author – Sophia H. Walker writes for the solar charger blog, her personal hobby weblog dedicated to tips to help people save electricity using solar powered energy for small gadgets.

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