Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency

Date:
April 5, 2011
Source:
American Institute of Physics
Summary:
Using minute graphite particles 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers hope to boost the efficiency -- and profitability -- of solar power plants.

Using minute graphite particles 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, mechanical engineers at Arizona State University hope to boost the efficiency -- and profitability -- of solar power plants.

Related Articles


Photovoltaic (PV) solar panels are popping up more and more on rooftops, but they're not necessarily the best solar power solution. "The big limitation of PV panels is that they can use only a fraction of the sunlight that hits them, and the rest just turns into heat, which actually hurts the performance of the panels," explains Robert Taylor, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at Arizona State University.

An alternative that can make use of all of the sunlight, including light PVs can't use, is the solar thermal collector. The purpose of these collectors -- which take the form of dishes, panels, evacuated tubes, towers, and more -- is to collect heat that can then be used to boil water to make steam, for example, which drives a turbine to create electricity.

To further increase the efficiency of solar collectors, Taylor and his colleagues have mixed nanoparticles -- particles a billionth of a meter in size -- into the heat-transfer oils normally used in solar thermal power plants. The researchers chose graphite nanoparticles, in part because they are black and therefore absorb light very well, making them efficient heat collectors. In laboratory tests with small dish collectors, Taylor and his colleagues found that nanoparticles increased heat-collection efficiency by up to 10 percent. "We estimate that this could mean up to $3.5 million dollars per year more revenue for a 100 megawatt solar power plant," he says.

What's more, Taylor adds, graphite nanoparticles "are cheap" -- less than $1 per gram -- but with 100 grams of nanoparticles providing the same heat-collecting surface area as an entire football field. "It might also be possible to filter out nanoparticles of soot, which have similar absorbing potential, from coal power plants for use in solar systems," he says. "I think that idea is particularly attractive: using a pollutant to harvest clean, green solar energy."

The article appears in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Robert A. Taylor, Patrick E. Phelan, Todd P. Otanicar, Chad A. Walker, Monica Nguyen, Steven Trimble, Ravi Prasher. Applicability of nanofluids in high flux solar collectors. Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2011; 3 (2): 023104 DOI: 10.1063/1.3571565

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics. "Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405081910.htm>.
American Institute of Physics. (2011, April 5). Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405081910.htm
American Institute of Physics. "Nanoparticles improve solar collection efficiency." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110405081910.htm (accessed January 25, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

NTSB: Missing Planes' Black Boxes Should Transmit Wirelessly

Newsy (Jan. 23, 2015) In light of high-profile plane disappearances in the past year, the NTSB has called for changes to make finding missing aircraft easier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Iconic Metal Toy Meccano Goes Robotic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 22, 2015) Classic children&apos;s toy Meccano has gone digital, releasing a programmable kit robot that can be controlled by voice recognition. The toymakers say Meccanoid G15 KS is easy to use and is compatible with existing Meccano pieces. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

The VueXL From VX1 Immersive Smartphone Headset!

Rumble (Jan. 22, 2015) The VueXL from VX1 is a product that you install your smartphone in and with the magic of magnification lenses, enlarges your smartphones screen so that it&apos;s like looking at a big screen TV. Check it out! Video provided by Rumble
Powered by NewsLook.com
Analysis: NTSB Wants Better Black Boxes

Analysis: NTSB Wants Better Black Boxes

AP (Jan. 22, 2015) NTSB investigators recommended Thursday that long-distance passenger planes carry improved technology to allow them to be found more easily in a crash, as well as include enhanced cockpit recording technology. (Jan. 22) Video provided by AP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

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