Is green hydrogen necessary to balance a renewables grid?

A report by Norwegian energy consultant DNV GL has considered the opportunity for long-term energy storage to play a role in balancing annual supply and demand fluctuations in a renewables-led grid. Using 58 years of Dutch weather and energy consumption data, the study found long-term solutions such as green hydrogen could make a valuable contribution – but perhaps not as much as some analysts believe.

How to make rooftop PV resilient in hurricane regions

A report published by the Rocky Mountain Institute makes recommendations for rooftop PV in regions affected by high winds. The study draws on the knowledge of structural engineers asked to analyze 25 solar systems across five Caribbean islands after they were hit by major hurricanes in 2017 and last year.

UQ: A quantum dot solar cell with 16.6% efficiency

Scientists at Australia’s University of Queensland have set a new world record for a quantum dot solar cell. The group fabricated a 0.1cm² device from perovskite and measured power conversion efficiency at 16.6%. The record has been verified by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

The inner workings of a lithium battery

An international group of scientists has developed a comprehensive method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them. Their findings, the group says, could provide a benchmark for battery characterization.

For a bigger battery, just add manganese

Scientists at the University of Southern Denmark working with sodium-ion batteries found that a new electrode material incorporating iron, manganese and phosphorous could increase both the power and capacity of the batteries.

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U.S. researchers put slimmer silicon back on the table

With solar grade polysilicon prices having plummeted in recent years, cutting down on consumption of the material has not been a priority. But strategies exist and significant savings can be made through deploying thinner wafers that use less silicon, insists a new paper published by MIT and NREL. And as manufacturers are increasingly hitting dead ends on other routes to cost reduction, this option could be back on the table for many.

Orderly disorder: Cambridge scientists make surprising perovskite discovery

Researchers have made a finding they say could vastly simplify and reduce the production cost of perovskite solar cells. Working with mixed halide perovskites, the group found a disordered chemical composition can improve device efficiency.

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Saving water with solar and wind

Scientists at Princeton have found solar and wind energy offer the added environmental benefit of reducing water usage, by comparison with hydroelectric dams. Their findings, say the researchers, could have a positive impact on groundwater sustainability in drought-prone regions such as California, where they conducted a case study.

Scientists double down on hydrogen production

A team of scientists led by the University of Glasgow has discovered a more efficient method of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity which it says could almost double the amount of hydrogen produced per millivolt.

Carbon nanotubes provide a boost to perovskite solar

Scientists at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have developed a carbon nanotube which forms a strong junction with a lead-halide perovskite, improving performance and stability.

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