Learn more about UC TechAlerts – Subscribe to categories and get notified of new UC technologies

Browse Category: Energy > Solar


[Search within category]

A New Material for Improved Energy Transfer in Photonic Devices

Prof. Ming Lee Tang and her colleagues from the University of California, Riverside have developed a promising new material for photonic devices utilizing hybrid materials composed of inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals and organic acene molecules. The material allows for photon upconversion, a promising wavelength shifting technology for photon management. This multi-photon process has potential applications in biological imaging, photocatalysis and photovoltaics. Regarding solar energy systems, the conversion of low energy near-infrared (NIR) photons to higher energy photons is particularly appealing, considering NIR radiation comprises 53% of the solar spectrum. Current solar panels are greatly limited in efficiency due to this. Reshaping the solar spectrum to match the optical properties of common semiconductors will allow the efficient use of all incident light. This holds the potential to solve the largest issue that current solar panel systems face.

Covalent Organic Framework With Exceptional Water Sorption Properties

A new covalent organic framework (COF) with defective square lattice topology and exceptional water sorption properties stemming fro its unique framework structure. The COF exhibits a working capacity of 0.23 g(H2O)/g(COF) between 20 and 40% relative humidity without displaying hysteretic behavior. Furthermore, it maintains these promising water sorption properties after several uptake and release cycles. This material could be used as a sorbent for water harvesting or other water sorption related applications.

A Family Of Hybrid Boosting Voltage Converters

Many industries, such as solar cells and energy storage, will be greatly benefited by high-gain step-up/step-down converters.UCI researchers have developed a family of hybrid boosting converters (HBC) that combine a base bipolar voltage multiplier (BVM) and one of several possible inductive switching cores to address various converter functionalities.

A Family Of Two-Switch Boosting Switched-Capacitor Converters (TBSC)

Switched capacitor converters, which provide high-gain voltage conversion, have drawbacks that have limited their use to specific applications. UCI researchers have developed a family of two-switch boosting switched-capacitor converters (TBSC) that enables the use of switched-capacitor converters in low cost and small-size applications as well as on-chip integration.

Multi-Point, Multi-Access Energy Storage

UCLA researchers in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have developed a novel multi-point, multi-access thermal energy storage system.

High Pressure Heat Exchanger Produced by Additive Manufacturing

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and Carnegie Mellon University have developed a new design and fabrication method for high pressure heat exchangers (HX) using additive manufacturing (AM). This method would allow for the creation of primary heat exchanger (PHX) systems with minimal energy loss.

Multiple-absorbers offer increased solar conversion efficiencies for artificial photosynthesis

   Researchers at UCI have, for the first time, developed a method for modeling the efficiencies of artificial photosynthetic devices containing multiple light absorbers. As these devices more closely parallel naturally occurring photosynthesis, they offer higher performance than standard single-absorber devices.

Synthesis Of Heteroatom Containing Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

UCLA researchers in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry have developed an approach for synthesizing nitrogen-containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons with high yield.

Highly Efficient Perovskite/Cu(In, Ga)Se2 Tandem Solar Cell

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed Perovskite/Cu(In, Ga)Se2 (PVSK/CIGS) tandem photovoltaic devices with ~22% efficiency.

Devices For Integrated Solar Photodialysis Of Salt Water

Researchers at UCI have developed a compact device for the rapid desalination of water which is driven entirely by renewable solar energy.

Micro-Optical Tandem Luminescent Solar Concentrator

Silicon photovoltaic (“Si-PV”) modules currently dominate the solar energy market. Increased progress into Si-PV efficiency enhancements combined with historically low module costs aim to decrease the overall Levelized Cost of Electricity (“LCOE”) to a point competitive with non-renewable energy sources. Despite recent LCOE reductions, Si-PV technology remains economically inferior to fossil fuels. Additionally, flat-plate Si solar modules generally require geographical locations with high direct normal incidence (“DNI”) sunlight conditions in order to maintain module performance. Both the strict DNI requirement and the high LCOE of Si-PV cells ultimately limit the dissemination of solar power into the global energy market. A solution for the capturing of diffuse sunlight includes the use of optical concentrators.  One class of optical concentrators includes luminescent solar concentrators (“LSCs”).  Luminescent solar concentrators have garnered interest due to their ability to utilize diffuse light and their potential for use in architectural applications such as large area power-generating windows. However, LSCs have not yet reached commercialization for photovoltaic power generation, largely due to their comparatively low power conversion efficiencies (“PCEs”) and lack of scalability.     Researchers at UC Berkeley and other educational institutions have developed luminescent solar concentrators that  can be designed to minimize photon thermalization losses and incomplete light trapping using various novel components and techniques.

Sunlight-driven Ion pump for use in Solar Photo-dialysis Technology

The invention is a specialized membrane that absorbs solar energy to directly drive desalination of salt water. Compared to state of the art devices, the invention is capable of bypassing the inefficient conversion from electronic energy to ionic energy, saving up to 85% of the energy required by other state of the art electrodialysis cells.

Efficient Solar Energy Conversion to Electricity

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel design for a solar power converter. The system uses an efficient selective absorber to harvest solar radiation.

Novel Photovoltaic Desalination System

Researchers at the University of California, Davis have developed a novel method of desalination without an external power source.

Efficient and Stable Perovskite Solar Cells with All Solution Processed Metal Oxide Transporting Layers

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a novel lead halide perovskite solar cell with a metal oxide charge transport layer.

Design of Semi-Transparent, Transparent, Stacked or Top-Illuminated Organic Photovoltaic Devices

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed novel tandem transparent and semi-transparent organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices.

Silver Nanowire-Indium Tin Oxide Nanoparticle As A Transparent Conductor For Optoelectronic Devices

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a novel composite material made of metal oxide nanoparticles (NPs) and silver nanowires (AgNWs).

Novel Polymers for Polymer Solar Cells, Transistors, and Sensors

UCLA researchers in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering have developed a novel class of conjugated polymers for photo-electronic device applications.

Enhancing Photoluminescence Quantum Yield for High Performance Optoelectrics

Surface defects dominate the behavior of minority carriers in semiconductors and optoelectronic devices. Photoluminescence quantum yield (QY), which dictates efficiency of optoelectrics such as LEDs, lasers, and solar cells, is extremely low in materials with a large number of surface defects. Researchers at UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed a bis(trifluoromethane) sulfonamide (TFSI) solution for passivation/repair of surface defects in 2D transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC). This air-stable solution-based chemical treatment provides unmatched photoluminescence QY enhancement to values near 100% without changing the surface morphology. The treatment eliminates defect-mediated non-radiative recombination, which eliminates the low performance limit of TMDC and enhances its minority carrier lifetime. This novel development can address surface passivation in numerous semiconductors which will lead to highly efficient light emitting diodes, lasers and solar cells based on 2D materials.

Hybrid Molecule Nanocrystal Photon Upconversion

Background: Solar resources are at a premium and the solar energy industry is a $130B market with growth projects of 30%. High demands for attaining renewable energy efficiently and cost-effectively, along with government incentives, are all good indicators for finding innovative ways to optimize solar energy systems.  Brief Description: Traditional semiconducting materials, i.e. silicon and cadmium telluride are unable to absorb all wavelengths of light and become usable energy. UCR researchers were able to functionalize semiconducting nanocrystals that are very efficient in upconverting near infrared photons into higher energy photons. They have optimized upconversion through carefully formulated combinations of semiconductor nanocrystals and organic ligands to enhance upconversion emission by up to 3 orders of magnitude relative to nanocrystals alone. This provides a way to enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic cells and reduce solar electricity costs.

Monolithic Integration of Ultra-Scaled High Performance Pin-Size Wearable Electronics

Wearable electronics for health monitoring have gained increased interest after conformal tattoo-like electronic sensors were co-integrated on elastomeric sheets.  One of the design requirements in such wearable electronics was to carefully adjust the effective Young’s modulus and bending stiffness of the resulting layered electronics, and this has restrained the compact integration of the electronic components because the single transistor elements had dimensions that were in millimeter scale. The promise of tattoo-like epidermal electronics has inspired a significant research effort to optimize the mechanics of these structures.

Processing Spinel-Less Thermal Barrier Coating Systems

This invention, intended for use in the processing of turbine engine blades’ thermal barrier coatings, is a two-step procedure used to produce a thermally grown oxide that is completely devoid of lifetime-limiting spinel oxides. Both steps take place at the same temperature used in present day bond coat pre-oxidation, utilize everyday gases, and can be performed serially in the same furnace, in a matter of hours. In step one, pre-oxidation of a bond-coated blade yields a thermally grown oxide (TGO) layer that contains a limited amount of spinel. In step two, all spinel is removed in situ. In an industrial-scale setup, the entire process would take place in less than 24 hours, including ramp times to and from the exposure temperature. Once blade specimens are cooled and removed from the furnace, they are then ready to be coated with the thermally protective yttria-stabilized zirconia (YSZ) layer, using industry-standard techniques. Due to the nature of the process, no new spinel is expected to grow at the critical TGO–YSZ interface for as long as the part operates in service, which means that the blade will be completely spinel-less for its entire usable lifetime. By eliminating all spinel-related failure mechanisms, this may result in longer blade lifetimes and therefore significant cost reduction.

Novel Quantum Dot Field-Effect Transistors Free of the Bias-Stress Effect

Novel quantum dot field-effect transistors without bias-stress effect that also have high mobility and are environmentally stable.

  • Go to Page: