21 Dec '11, 6pm

Clever Optical Furnace Could Cut in Half the Energy Required to Make Solar Cells

Clever Optical Furnace Could Cut in Half the Energy Required to Make Solar Cells

Less Energy During Manufacturing = Cheaper Solar Panels Solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is one of the cleanest ways to make electricity, even when the whole life cycle impact is taken into account. But despite that, the manufacturing process to make solar panels is fairly energy-intensive, which means that there's room for improvement. A good thing could be made even better. That's exactly what the smart folks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory are doing, and one way they have found to both reduce the energy required to make a solar cell and to make the solar cell itself more efficient is to use an optical furnace to heat up the silicon substrate with which the panel is made. Futureatlas /CC BY 2.0 Cheaper & Better Solar Panels Indeed, the scientists and engineers at NREL have found that rather than use a conventional furnace to heat up silicon to 1000+ degrees...

Full article: http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/brighter-way-m...

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