In recent times, several solar innovations have been reported which has immense potential to impact environment and mankind. Some pessimists might point towards heightened global solar PV production in countries like China which has resulted in oversupply of panels and dropping of prices.
However, the fact remains is that there are still endless opportunities of inventing new solar technologies so as to present the next generation with a green future. Discussed below few such research works related to solar energy which could change the world for better!
Solar energy process simplifies tailing ponds reclamation
Professors from the University of Alberta civil engineering professors have used solar energy to speed up tailings pond reclamation processes. Till now industries dealing with oil sands process affected water use UV lamps to clean up oil sands tailings ponds. Now the team of professors has discovered that the sunlight can be used as a renewable energy source to treat wastewater without compromising efficiency or standard. Also the entire process can be completed at a much lower cost.
Oil sands tailings ponds generally contain varied types of suspended solids and salts along with dissolvable compounds like acids, benzene and hydrocarbons. Typically it takes 20 plus years for complete reclamation. On the other hand, solar UV/chlorine treatment, when applied to these tailings ponds would ensure immediate OSPW decontamination and detoxification.
Initial laboratory tests have given quite positive results as the solar UV/chlorine treatment process successfully removed almost 75 to 84 per cent toxins. Scientists are thus hopeful that this process will hugely benefit the expansive oil sands industry.
Solar powered micro-inverters
Households which need to use solar inverters often express dissatisfaction over its limited longevity and high expenses. In general the device takes DC power that solar panels produce and transforms it into AC power which then gets transmitted to households.
The price of an inverter that handles solar power production on your rooftop can be quite high. Sometimes they prove to be inefficient too. Now with the advent of micro-inverters, just one panel and a single inverter will be enough to set up your own solar power generating station!
Beating the heat with self-cooling solar cells
Growing concern over global warming have prompted researchers to think of innovative technologies which will help cool down the earth without using excessive energy. A research team from Stanford University in California experimented by placing a thin layer of silica glass, embedded with tiny cone and pyramid structures over top of silicon solar cells.
This has helped in reducing operating temperature of the solar cells. The benefit of having this thin layer of glass is that it helps redirect unwanted heat through atmosphere and into space.
As researchers observed, lowering temperature of solar cells will lead to greater operating efficiency as well as significantly longer lifespan. Calculation shows that by “turning away” infrared radiation with silica glass, not only does the temperature goes down significantly but that too without affecting the amount of visible light that the solar cell absorbs. Thus to conclude, future looks quite promising for solar energy getting elevated as mainstream energy source, replacing greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels in coming days.