Solar Power and Quantum Dots

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Solar electricity advances

Solar power is about to take a quantum leap forward. By using quantum dots in the panels they can make solar windows that operate at peak performance and look great too. Solar is the future of our planet, if we are going to survive. The new techniques discovered at Los Alamos labs are about to create a whole new game in solar energy. In this article I will go into more detail about what quantum dots are and how they help improve solar electric output. As time goes on solar windows will become less expensive allowing everyone to enjoy this source of power.

This new technology goes far beyond solar windows, as it can be used in many ways to power anything. From houses to cars, air planes, watches, cell phones, AI jewelry, robots and the list goes on and on. Sub-atomic solar collectors could change our world in more ways than we can presently imagine.

Bands of Sunlight
Bands of Sunlight | Source

What are quantum dots

Quantum dots are a microscopic process allowing solar electricity to be produced in a very small area. Solar quantum dots are tiny particles used to form nano-crystals that can absorb many different bands of solar energy, both day and night. They absorb energy from all wave lengths of visible and invisible light. Harvesting ultra-violet to infrared rays so they will collect energy 24 hours a day. Unlike common silicon solar panels that collect the majority of their energy only during the day from visible sunlight. Also, because of their small size they can be used in virtually anything that uses energy.

These tiny crystals are being experimented with for use in solar cells that can not only absorb a much larger band of solar rays, but can also be adjusted to the size that gives peek performance. Because of the minuet size of these nano-crystals scientists are finding that different sizes and configurations effect the amount of solar energy absorbed. In traditional silicon based solar cells the only way to achieve a better rate of solar light transference into electricity is to change the materials being used in manufacturing the solar panel. With quantum sized nano-crystals this rate can be increased by altering the size and configuration of the crystals, as was recently found by scientists at ETH in Zurich. They have achieved a transference rate of solar light to electricity of 9%, but are working to improve this rate to at least 15% before releasing these quantum solar cells on the market.

The small size of these nano-crystals will allow them to be used to create windows that are both transparent and also collect solar energy. The future of solar electricity will be solar windows used in both residential and commercial applications.

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Solar Windows

Solar windows will be the next wave of energy for the masses. These windows will not only operate at peak performance, but also look beautiful and add style to the home. The solar windows currently on the market are very expensive and do not collect much energy, but this is about to change within the next few years with the use of quantum dots. Scientists around the world are working to bring this process up to a high level of efficiency for use in windows. These windows will have the appearance of a normal clear or slightly tinted window. Because the actual solar cells will be of a sub-atomic size and held together with a type of molecular bonding.

The nano-crystal semi-conductors will be very thin and flexible allowing it to be layered within the glass of a traditional window during production. Similar to how Low E is presently added to windows during production. This will allow standard looking house windows to also collect solar electricity. Negating the need for an array of solar panels to collect solar energy.

These tiny solar collectors will open a whole new world of solar electric applications. Sub-atomic sized solar collectors could be placed in almost anything that needs power to operate. The possibilities of this new technology are endless. Anything that runs on power consumption could be fitted with these quantum dot solar collectors.

Current Solar Glass

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Solar energy will save our environment

Solar energy will save our environment from the pollution caused by generating power with coal and fossil fuels. Green house gases have caused much damage to our planet and need to be reigned in and stopped. Many current companies fear this technology because for them it's the grim reaper knocking.

We are already experiencing effects from global warming. Some of it is natural, some of it is man made pollution and some of it is hype. We cannot do anything about sun spots or natural global warming, but we can do something about pollution. Switching to a natural source of energy may not completely solve the problem, but it would be of considerable help. Besides damaging the environment from our present methods of generating energy is the cost of it. Oil, gas and coal is expensive and limited on our planet. Sunlight is free and limitless, but not as easy to meter which is one reason its been slow to be implemented. The other problem is the technology needed to effectively use solar energy and that is changing fast. We already have solar glass on the market and as this technology advances it will become better and cheaper.

As you can see from the table below for the year 2013 in the US alone, over 38% of our power production is from coal, over 27% from natural gas, and over 19% from nuclear plants. A very minimal amount is coming from renewable sources. This not only pollutes our environment it also is bleeding our planet of its limited natural resources. This can be avoided using solar energy and electric production for utility companies is just scratching the surface. With quantum dot solar collection we can run our cars, airplanes and any of our gas consumption vehicles at a fraction of the cost with virtually no damage to the environment. This is a win / win situation for everyone except the companies currently selling fossil fuels and limited resources.

Power Plants in USA 2013

Power Source
Plants
Summer Capacity (GW)
% of total Capacity
Capacity factor
Annual Energy (billion kWh)
% of Total US
Coal
518
303.3
28.61
0.6
1581.12
38.44
Nat Gas
1769
427.5
40.33
0.3
1137.69
27.66
Nuclear
63
99.2
9.36
0.91
789.02
19.18
Hydro
1435
79.2
7.47
0.39
268.57
6.53
Other Renewables
2299
82.6
7.79
0.35
253.5
6.16
Petroleum
1101
43.5
4.1
0.07
27.16
0.66
Misc
78
2.3
0.22
0.68
13.59
0..33
Storage
41
22.4
2.11
-0.02
-4.68
-0.11
Import
 
 
 
 
46.73
1.14
Total
7304
1060
100
0.44
4112.7
100
Total utility electric production for the USA in 2013.

Global Warming Trends

Global warming has become a catch phrase or meme as of late, but here are a few of the statistics behind it.

A current study of the period from 1906 to 2014 has found that the land and oceans have been rising in temperature, some of this may be natural. The largest increase has been within the last 10 years with 2014 being the warmest on record. Last summer Philadelphia enjoyed the coolest summer I have ever experienced, which would seem to contradict this study. Except the reason for this cool air was because the polar ice caps are melting at such a rapid rate that its causing shifts in the wind currents, blowing cool air south and warm air north. Last summer was also the warmest summer in northern regions of North America. As the ice continues to melt at the North Pole the oceans rise and the air currents cause more drastic weather patterns, as we have been witnessing.

Now the companies that are selling the fossil fuels which help increase our green house gases would have you believe this is all just a paranoid fantasy. While scientists are measuring this and telling us that we are in trouble. I am not in a position to prove this either way, but I can say without a doubt that renewable energy can only help our situation. Plus, once it is in place and operating it should be much less expensive for everyone. It has also become evident to all that recent weather changes and natural disasters are at an all time high.

© 2015 Randy Hirneisen

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4 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 18 months ago from Queensland Australia

Wonderful, important, and informative hub Randy. We need to have a new solar array installed in our home next year. I found the information about the new quantum dot technology very interesting. Thank you for sharing. Voted up.


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 18 months ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

Randy, thanks for researching this topic and giving us the valuable information. In three years, I plan on building my home and using solar. I'll be watching the development of this technology. voted up and shared.


Randy Horizon profile image

Randy Horizon 18 months ago from Philadelphia Author

Thank you John. This technology is very interesting. I'm glad you liked the article. I hope the technology is ready when you need it. It may be a little while until it hits the market and is not over priced.


Randy Horizon profile image

Randy Horizon 18 months ago from Philadelphia Author

Thanks Chris. I'm glad you liked the article and I hope this is out and not too expensive when you are ready to build your house. I always wanted to build my own house with solar energy too.

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