Ubiquitous Energy sets focus on solar cell technology

Feb 26, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog
(a) Picture of the “Teton mountains” displayed on an LCD screen (b) with the fully assembled transparent solar cell in front of the picture. In (a) the anode/active layer drawing is overlaid on the same picture and the orange boxes highlight the active layer area. a and (b) were taken side-by-side during the same exposure. (c) Picture of the series-integrated, transparent cell powering an LCD clock illuminated with 0.05 sun while allowing for high transparency. Credit: Appl. Phys. Lett. 98, 113305 (2011)

(Phys.org)—Can windows, tablets and e readers turn light into power? Can a surface coated with solar cells take sunlight and the glow of bulbs and change them into energy? As reported in Technology Review, expert scientists at a new startup called Ubiquitous Energy have those feats in mind. They want to develop transparent coatings and films that could harvest light energy when applied to buildings' windows or mobile-device screens.

The company defines itself as "a developing a portfolio of technologies that enable seamless deployment of light-harvesting functionality in the form of products and surfaces we interact with every day."

Ubiquitous Energy solar cells are made of organic layers, and they are deposited one at a time on top of a film or glass. The team uses a "spectrally selective approach" with achievements that were first outlined in a paper published in Applied Physics Letters in 2011. They noted how previous efforts to construct semitransparent devices focused on the use of thin active layers (or spatially segmented films) with focused in the , and have been limited to either low efficiencies or low average visible-light transmissivity.

They said that they demonstrated "heterojunction organic PV (OPV) cells utilizing a molecular organic donor, chloroaluminum phthalocyanine (ClAlPc), and a molecular acceptor, C60, that show peak-absorption in the ultraviolet and near-infrared (NIR) ( span of λ = 650–850 nm)."

They wrote that, in combining the OPVs with selective high- near-infrared mirror coatings, "we optimize device performance while also permitting high transmission of visible photopic light through the entire device."

The paper, "Transparent, Near-Infrared Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells for Window and Energy-Scavenging Applications," is by Richard Lunt and Vladimir Bulovic. Both are cofounders; Lunt is an expert in organic and inorganic excitonic materials for solar energy and energy utilization efficiency.

Spun out of the MIT lab of Prof. Bulović, the company's work is still at the development stages. The focus is to improve the efficiency of the solar cells, according to Miles Barr, the president and CTO of Ubiquitous Energy. As reported in Technology Review, Barr is looking at ways to collect more light. Barr said the company is developing materials that gather energy deeper into the infrared.

Last year, Barr made news as a recipient of the Lemelson-MIT Collegiate Student Prize for innovative solar technologies. His approach in fabricating solar cells on everyday surfaces was singled out, and its implications for the adoption of solar power. According to the MIT award announcement, "Barr's approach, which enables solar cells to be printed directly on common materials like paper and textiles, could reduce the cost of solar energy by eliminating the need for specialized installation."

Explore further: Boeing and Chinese firm to turn 'gutter oil' into jet fuel

More information: apl.aip.org/resource/1/applab/v98/i11/p113305_s1
www.technologyreview.com/news/… through-solar-cells/
www.ubiquitous-energy.com/

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FrankHerbertWhines
1 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2013
which Obama grant funded these guys?
VendicarE
5 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2013
Sad isn't it that Obama grants are the only thing keeping the U.S. economy from a 30 year long Grand Economic Depression.

Communist China = WIN.
Steven_Anderson
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2013
We must remember, on who's watch the world economic crash happened on and where we would be without those funds being distributed. Remember the first great depression? Take a look at history and you will be able to predict the future! http://rawcell.com
MR166
1 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2013
Sad isn't it that Obama grants are the only thing keeping the U.S. economy from a 30 year long Grand Economic Depression.

Communist China = WIN.


If you consider 1 trillion dollars of yearly deficit spending a "grant" then you are correct. Most of the world economies are sinking despite pumping in trillions of new debt. There is no easy fix for this problem since it requires world GDP to grow to infinity in order to pay this debt back. Either a total crash or hyperinflation will be the end result.
Steven_Anderson
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2013
The amount of debt the US has relative to the GDP is far less than the debt that other countries have relative to theirs. I am not suggesting that it's not something to be concerned about,but the problem is over stated. We can get out of debt, we just have to work at it. We have to think smart, invest smart. For instance the every 10 years the world throws away nearly six trillion in plastics, it destroys the environment. By the way that six trillion is after we account for the cost of its recovery! I have laid out a detailed cost analysis on the subject. http://rawcell.co...axation/ . It's simple really, we can't throw money away for wars that we can't afford to protect partners sources of oil around the world and we have to keep the economy on a even keel with regulations that prevent run away growth and unsound investment. We also need to limit terms on congressmen.
MR166
1 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2013
US debt has increased by 60% in 4 years and now stands at 110% of GDP. We are now keeping interest rates down by purchasing our own bonds i.e. printing money. Total long term US government liabilities are about $120 TRILLION dollars. If the rates were to rise to say 6% debt service, medicare and SS would take up our entire budget. I think it is safe to say that we have a real problem.
Steven_Anderson
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2013
US debt has increased by 60% in 4 years and now stands at 110% of GDP. We are now keeping interest rates down by purchasing our own bonds i.e. printing money. Total long term US government liabilities are about $120 TRILLION dollars. If the rates were to rise to say 6% debt service, medicare and SS would take up our entire budget. I think it is safe to say that we have a real problem.

Please back up your 120 Trillion with references. That number is hugely inflated. Thanks.
MR166
1 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2013
Well here is $70 Trillion of it.
http://usatoday30...tialskip

Mix in spiraling medical and drug costs and $120 Trillion is a real possibility.

Just for laughs, you might as well throw in the 1/2 Trillion a year current accounts deficit into the dismal mix known as the US economy.
MR166
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2013
BTW 40% of the US GDP consists of US government spending. Do you really think that this is sustainable? If you add in the spending of state and local governments it is truly frightening.
Shakescene21
3 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2013

Just for laughs, you might as well throw in the 1/2 Trillion a year current accounts deficit into the dismal mix known as the US economy.


Good point. If this start-up ever manufactures these devices, they will probably be made in China.