Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

DOE Outlines Research Needed To Improve Solar Energy Technologies

Date:
August 15, 2005
Source:
U.S. Department of Energy
Summary:
DOE's Office of Science has released a report describing the basic research needed to produce "revolutionary progress in bringing solar energy to its full potential in the energy marketplace." Progress in the proposed research could lead to: artificial "molecular machines" that turn sunlight into chemical fuel; "smart materials" based on nature's ability to transfer captured solar energy with no energy loss; self-repairing solar conversion systems; and far more efficient solar cells created using nanotechnologies.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- To help achieve the Bush Administration's goal ofincreased use of solar and other renewable forms of energy, theDepartment of Energy's (DOE) Office of Science has released a reportdescribing the basic research needed to produce "revolutionary progressin bringing solar energy to its full potential in the energymarketplace." The report resulted from a workshop of 200 scientistsheld earlier this year.

"The tax credits contained in the historic energy bill signed byPresident Bush will greatly help expand the use of renewable energy,"said Dr. Raymond L. Orbach, Director of DOE's Office of Science. "Thisresearch will help improve a critical component of renewable energy,solar technology, in the future. Increasing the use of renewable energyis a clear way to help meet our growing energy needs usingenvironmentally-friendly power sources."

"This report demonstrates the important contribution the entirescientific community can make to the development of new sustainableenergy resources," Orbach said. "Science and basic research can andmust play a key role in addressing the energy security needs of ournation."

Every hour more energy from sunlight strikes the Earth than isconsumed on the planet in a year. Yet today, solar electricity providesonly approximately one thousandth of the total electricity supply. Thereport notes that a "huge gap between our present use of solar energyand its enormous undeveloped potential defines a grand challenge inenergy research" and that "sunlight is a compelling solution to ourneed for clean, abundant sources of energy in the future."

The report notes that progress in the proposed research could lead to:artificial "molecular machines" that turn sunlight into chemical fuel;"smart materials" based on nature's ability to transfer captured solarenergy with no energy loss; self-repairing solar conversion systems;devices that absorb all the colors in the solar spectrum for energyconversion, not just a fraction; far more efficient solar cells createdusing nanotechnologies; and new materials for high-capacity,slow-release thermal storage.

The report further notes that revolutionary breakthroughs come onlyfrom basic research and that, "We must understand the fundamentalprinciples of solar energy conversion and develop new materials thatexploit them."

Solar energy conversion systems fall into three categories: solarelectricity, solar fuels and solar thermal systems. Workshopparticipants considered the potential of all three approaches. Theyidentified 13 priority research directions with the "potential toproduce revolutionary, not evolutionary, breakthroughs in materials andprocesses for solar energy utilization." Cross-cutting researchdirections include: coaxing cheap materials to perform as well asexpensive materials; developing new solar cell designs that surpasstraditional efficiency limits; finding catalysts that enableinexpensive, efficient conversion of solar energy into chemical fuels;and developing materials for solar energy conversion infrastructure,such as transparent conductors and robust, inexpensive thermalmanagement materials.

###

The Office of Basic Energy Sciences in DOE's Office of Scienceorganized the 2005 workshop on solar energy research needs. Two hundredscientists from the U.S., Europe and Asia examined the challenges todeveloping solar energy as a competitive energy source and identifiedthe basic research directions that show promise to overcome thesechallenges. The workshop was the second in a series following the 2002Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee study "Basic Research Needs toAssure a Secure Energy Future." The first workshop examined basicresearch needs for the hydrogen economy.

The Basic Research Needs for Solar Energy Utilization report can be viewed and downloaded at: www.sc.doe.gov/bes/reports/files/SEU_rpt.pdf Hard copies of the report are available upon request from the Office of Basic Energy Sciences at www.sc.doe.gov/bes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by U.S. Department of Energy. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

U.S. Department of Energy. "DOE Outlines Research Needed To Improve Solar Energy Technologies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 August 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162556.htm>.
U.S. Department of Energy. (2005, August 15). DOE Outlines Research Needed To Improve Solar Energy Technologies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162556.htm
U.S. Department of Energy. "DOE Outlines Research Needed To Improve Solar Energy Technologies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/08/050814162556.htm (accessed August 20, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Awesome New Camouflage Sheet Was Inspired By Octopus Skin

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) Scientists have developed a new device that mimics the way octopuses blend in with their surroundings to hide from dangerous predators. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

Green Power Blooms as Japan Unveils 'hydrangea Solar Cell'

AFP (Aug. 19, 2014) A solar cell that resembles a flower is offering a new take on green energy in Japan, where one scientist is searching for renewables that look good. Duration: 01:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Tiny Satellites, Like The One Tossed From ISS, On The Rise

Newsy (Aug. 18, 2014) The Chasqui I, hand-delivered into orbit by a Russian cosmonaut, is one of hundreds of small satellites set to go up in the next few years. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins