Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solar power: Is it time for the big push?

Date:
January 31, 2013
Source:
Kavli Foundation
Summary:
There are big expectations for solar power in the coming years. Four renowned scientists in the field discuss what's needed now for a big push, including breaking barriers in research and industry.

There are great expectations for solar power, especially in the coming years, when the International Energy Agency projects solar to grow faster than any other renewable power. But what does science need to do to more fully respond to the opportunities ahead?

Related Articles


Recently, three researchers discussed this with fellow scientist Harry A. Atwater, Jr., director of the DOE Energy Frontier Research Center on Light-Material Interactions in Solar Energy Conversion, as well as member of the Kavli Nanoscience Institute (KNI) at the California Institute of Technology. To really give solar power a push, the scientists raised advancing how new materials are created, developed and brought to industry.

"We need to engage with manufacturers and end-users of the technology as soon as possible, rather than spend years doing lab demonstrations before anyone talks with industry," said Michael Wasielewski, director of the Argonne-Northwestern Solar Energy Research Center and professor at Northwestern University. "We need to take advantage of manufacturers' expertise in how things are really done. On our part, we need to let them know about promising materials sooner, so they start to think about commercialization pathways earlier in the process."

It was also pointed out that barriers in the laboratory needed breaking. "I work more on the physics side, but there is a separation between what I do and the chemistry needed to make this work," said Albert Polman, director of the Dutch Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter's Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. "To make things happen faster, we need to have the disciplines talk to one another more than in the past."

Another challenge is making new technology more affordable. Nathan Lewis is principal investigator of the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis, the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Innovation Hub in Fuels from Sunlight at the California Institute of Technology, where he is also a member of KNI. Said Lewis, "[W]e need to really scale up manufacturing to make this technology cheap. Right now, making solar cells is like making other highly engineered technologies, such as silicon chips. What we need are technologies that let us churn it out inexpensively, like newspaper or bubble wrap."

Scaling up means bridging a financial gulf, noted Atwater. "[T]o commercialize solar technologies, we must get past the valley of death -- that big gap between demonstrating a technology and finding someone to invest $100 million for large-scale manufacturing," he said.

For the complete discussion, visit: http://www.kavlifoundation.org/science-spotlights/caltech-solar-power-big-push


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kavli Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kavli Foundation. "Solar power: Is it time for the big push?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131144142.htm>.
Kavli Foundation. (2013, January 31). Solar power: Is it time for the big push?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131144142.htm
Kavli Foundation. "Solar power: Is it time for the big push?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130131144142.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Antarctic Sea Ice Mystery Thickens... Literally

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) — Antarctic sea ice isn't only expanding, it's thicker than previously thought, and scientists aren't sure exactly why. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

3D Map of Antarctic Sea Ice to Shed Light on Climate Change

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A multinational group of scientists have released the first ever detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice. Using an underwater robot equipped with sonar, the researchers mapped the underside of a massive area of sea ice to gauge the impact of climate change. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Car Park Solution for Flexible Green Energy

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — A British solar power start-up says that by covering millions of existing car park spaces around the UK with flexible solar panels, the country's power problems could be solved. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Yellow-Spotted Turtles Rescued from Trafficking

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 24, 2014) — Hundreds of Amazon River turtles released into the wild in Peru. Sharon Reich reports. Video provided by Reuters
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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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