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Sydney researchers boost solar panel efficiency

24th Apr 2012

We've reported before how improving the efficiency of solar power is high on many scientists' agendas, and this time it's the turn of experts from New South Wales.

Based at the University of Sydney, associate professor Tim Schmidt from the School of Chemistry has developed what is known as turbo for solar cells…sounds pretty impressive, huh?

Tim has joined forces with boffins from the Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy to come up with the invention, which claims to make use of the energy often lost when solar electricity is generated.

As a result, solar panels have the potential to reach an efficiency rate of 40 per cent - well, it's a step in the right direction!

Now for the technical bit - Tim explains that the upconversion works by using the part of the solar spectrum that is currently unreachable by solar cells.

This should eliminate the costly redevelopment of solar technology…we all like to save money, right?

The experiments might not be quite over yet, as the Australian and German researchers acknowledged that some more research needs to be carried out.

"We now have a benchmark for the performance of an upconverting solar cell. We need to improve this several times, but the pathway is now clear," Tim emphasised.

Posted by Mike Peacock


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