Who says only humans can feel the beat of pop-rock music. Turns out that a certain kind of solar cell can too; and in doing so, radically increase its performance.
Researchers in the UK, at Queen Mary University of London and Imperial College London have discovered that blasting beats at zinc-oxide solar cells makes them perform up to 50% better. According to the researchers, pop and rock music gets the cells going more than classical music, but they suggest that any noise with a broad range of frequencies will produce similar effects.
Zinc-oxide nanorod designed solar cells are capable of responding to a broad range of sound frequencies, particularly that of rock music. The more energy delivered by the sound, the more the pressure wave deforms the rods resulting in a stronger electric field generated, which converts more incoming light to electricity-i.e. a higher conversion efficiency/better overall performance. The challenge now is two-fold: develop better solar cells; and optimize them for sound to energy conversion. And of course to do this as cheaply as possible. Today, zinc-oxide nanorod cells are just 1-2 percent efficient, but tomorrow they could be significantly greater.
Think of all the natural places there is a broad range of sound available to help boost nearby solar cell efficiencies, like: airports, large commercial roof-top air conditioning units, power plants, industrial process sites, railroads and transportation centers, and possibly along highways. Why let the noise go to waste……co-locate solar cells nearby.
Editor’s Deep Dive
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Thomas Edison said … “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that. I wish I had more years left.”
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