Technology and R&D

There’s something fishy about this flow battery innovation

Scientists led by MIT have suggested chitin, a carbon and nitrogen-rich material made from waste shrimp shells, could produce sustainable electrodes for vanadium redox flow batteries and other energy storage technologies.

ARCI develops easy-to-clean solar panel coating 

The super-hydrophobic coating using functional nanoparticles repels dust deposition on the solar panels and cleans itself by the action of water on the modules. 

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Mobile solar pumping system offers pay-as-you-go solution for farmers

Researchers have simulated a cart-mounted solar pump which they say would mean farmers in off-grid areas would be able to irrigate fields by paying only for the solar electricity used.

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Earth’s magnetic field affecting PV panel performance

Researchers in Kenya say the geomagnetic field could reduce solar panel conversion efficiency 0.21% between the equator and a 50-degree latitude. Their analysis showed the complex magnetic field can determine increases in module fill factor and falls in maximum power.

Agrivoltaics works better with leafy greens, root crops

U.S. researchers have created a new model to assess the overlap between solar potential and underlying land use. The areas with the largest potential are the western United States, southern Africa, and the Middle East. The researchers concluded that croplands, grasslands, and wetlands are the top three land classes for PV projects linked to agricultural activities, while barren terrain, traditionally prioritized for solar PV system installation, ranked fifth.

Single-axis bifacial PV offers lowest LCOE in 93.1% of world’s land area

Researchers from the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore have concluded that utility-scale PV projects relying on bifacial panels and single-axis trackers deliver the lowest levelized cost of energy in most of the world. They found that the combination of bifacial products with dual-axis trackers is still too expensive, despite the higher yield. The second-lowest LCOE is offered by monofacial single-axis tracker plants.

DST launches energy storage innovation challenge

October 31 is the last date to submit proposals for developing economically viable energy storage solutions that can be integrated with appropriate renewable energy sources to provide an uninterrupted power supply for rural households and enterprises.

New method to measure cell voltages in operational PV modules

Scientists in Japan have proposed a new model to estimate cell voltages in solar modules by irradiating the cells with a weak modulated laser light. The method could be used to detect hot spots and other panel-degradation issues, such as potential induced degradation (PID) peeling, cracking, and poor contacts.

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Pouch lamination technique for solar cell encapsulation

Madurai Kamaraj University scientists have used a pouch laminator to encapsulate a polycrystalline solar cell. The resulting device, the researchers claim, showed better UV photon absorption than solar cells treated with a polymer surface coating.

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Used EV batteries for large-scale solar energy storage

MIT scientists have suggested used electric vehicle batteries could offer a more viable business case than purpose-built systems for the storage of grid scale solar power in California. Such ‘second life’ EV batteries, may cost only 60% of their original purchase price to deploy and can be effectively aggregated for industrial scale storage even if they have declined to 80% of their original capacity.

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