Source: EcoSeed and the entire article

Researchers from Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology managed to combine two technologies aimed at harnessing the sun’s energy effectively.

Employing nanostructuring methods, the team produced a “hybrid” by combining high-performance thermoelectric materials with spectrally-selective solar absorbers in a vacuum-sealed flat panel, boosting its energy conversion efficiency.

The solar-thermal flat panel yielded a new approach that can produce a cost-effective conversion of solar energy into electricity. It was able to perform eight times better than conventional solar-thermal technologiescurrently in the market.

It also has a broad application in both residential and industrial uses.

Photovoltaic cells have been generally made as flat panels, while solar-thermal power generation uses sunlight-absorbing surfaces which can be utilized in residential and large industrial settings.

But producing the conventional solar thermal instruments present a problem as materials needed for building it are limited, a setback its power generation costs.

M.I.T. researchers have been focused recently on developing ways to harness solar energy. Their recent work involved genetically engineering a virus that can control carbon nanotubes’ arrangements to increase the effectiveness of solar panels. (Angelo Nonato P. Cabrera)

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