Skip to main content

View Diary: Nearly triple efficiency and lower cost: thin-film solar cell breakthrough (281 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Total conversion efficiency is about 8% (6+ / 0-)

    ... according to Chou's paper. But that's not the issue. The issue is dollars-per-Watt, and that's the only issue when it comes to deployment of PV.

    So now we've got an 8% efficient solar cell with absolutely no rare earth materials, i.e., dirt cheap. And cheap to make.

    So yes, this is still huge.

    We are all in the same boat on a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty. -- G.K. Chesterton

    by Keith Pickering on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:12:23 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  Not even close (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walkshills
      The issue is dollars-per-Watt, and that's the only issue when it comes to deployment of PV
      A considerably greater issue is their footprint - their "energy density" is so low that there simply is not enough space for them to make a meaningful contribution in many situations.

      For example, a FedEx distribution center completely covered one of their distribution centers with solar panels - it provided about 15% of the electricity the center used (and for FedEx, electricity is one of their lesser usages of energy!)

    •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      walkshills, mrkvica

      That really is key.  Absolute efficiency is great...but a really, really dirt cheap inefficient system can often be better than a really expensive technologically superior system.

      For example, most scooters get around 75 or more miles per gallon...even the ones made in the 70s (modern 4 strokes are better still for emissions, not milage reasons).  They cost a few thousand dollars.  compare that with a Prius that gets about 50 MPG, and cost $25,000.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 09:56:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Motorcycles of the future (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empty Vessel, walkshills

        The bike is powered by electricity, partially generated by solar cells built into the "tank" and fairing. You keep it in a garage with a solar cell roof that provides a boost recharge.

        You ride to work in the AM and corporate (or the owner of the office park or building) provides a shelter or garage space with a plug for a fee. You park, plug in your bike and go to work.

        •  Oddly (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          walkshills, kurt, mrkvica, ozsea1

          I did some research on electric motorcycles and scooters, and though it would seem like they would be the would be the obvious choice for going electric, even before cars, they weirdly aren't.

          Assuming you don't have a hog or crotch rocket, gasoline motorcycles and scooters are really, really efficient.  The other problem is that batteries are really heavy.  In a car, the battery weight makes up a smaller proportion of the total weight than on a motorcycle or scooter.  As a result, you get less of benefit in terms of energy efficiency in a motorcycle or scooter than you get in a car.

          So, oddly, electric motorcycles and scooters require some serious advances in batteries to become seriously green competitive over their already green bonafides.  If you have an purely gasoline, 4 stroke scooter that gets 100 miles to the gallon, it is better in terms of greenhouse gasses than a purely electric car powered from the grid in most parts of the country.  Obviously solar changes the whole calculus.

          So, here's to lighter, smaller batteries...which, truth be told, would be good for so many things.

          "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

          by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:30:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  FYI (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            walkshills, ozsea1

            Although motorcycles are definitely highly fuel-efficient, they're not by any stretch of the imagination 'green'.

            In fact, street-legal bikes, even the newer ones, pollute more than a Hummer. (Indeed, for some pollutants, they pollute more than ten Hummers!)

            Here: Mythbusters are, as always, on the case.

            •  You are confusing 2 stroke and 4 stroke (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mrkvica

              4 stroke are basically just small car engines, 2 stroke are lawnmower engines and really are just as bad as you say.

              Most newer bikes are 4 stroke, and thus pretty good.  The one thing they lack is a good catalytic converter...so they put out more smog than a car, but far less greenhouse gasses.

              "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

              by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 12:38:42 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  BMW's and some other bikes (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mrkvica

                Have catalytic converters. They are built into the exhaust system.

                Also: bikes take up less room on the highway, less room parking and need fewer materials to build. Motorcycles are very cost efficient.

                •  yeah (0+ / 0-)

                  But note I said "good" catalytic converters.  The smog standards for motorcycles are lower than for cars, so they put in fairly wimpy catalytic converters.  Worse yet, many motorcycle assholes put on after market pipes to make them louder and sound baddass.  Thus, even worse.

                  It's very easy and possible to make the CAT on motorcycles much better, but until it's required, there is very little incentive to do so.  Basically, these days it's California emission standars that determine most everything.

                  "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                  by Empty Vessel on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:10:47 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, but... (0+ / 0-)

                Greenhouse gasses are a problem, I agree. However, if you have to choose between 'half to a quarter as much greenhouse gasses as a car and ten to twenty times as much smog and fine particulates as a car' (which is the case with four-stroke motorcycles with catalytic converters) you're better off with the car.

                Mythbusters agrees, as I mentioned above.

    •  Thanks for the clarification. (0+ / 0-)

      I also think it's important to remember the real break through portion of the research can still be applied to even more efficient PV systems.

      -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

      I lie to myself because I'm the only one who continues to believe me. - Vermin

      by 84thProblem on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 10:10:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site