As it stands, any hot surface emits light in the form of thermal radiation. But Naik said the problem is the thermal radiation is broadband. In order to convert light into electricity, the emission has to be in a narrow band, and thus the invention. The researchers discovered nanotubes are a way to isolate the photons that would be wasted. The nanotube films act as conduits that absorb the waste heat and turn it into the narrow-bandwidth protons.
So what does this mean for society? According to the researchers, it could increase the efficiency of solar cells which currently peak around 22%. “By squeezing all the wasted thermal energy into a small spectral region, we can turn it into electricity very efficiently,” said Naik. “The theoretical prediction is that we can get 80% efficiency.”
As the momentum is rapidly growing towards green energy we're going to see masses of funding and time poured into generation efficiency as well as storage technology. Such research won't be identifying a single best solution but it will all be in competition for whats gets to market early and has the broadest adoption. Like with Betamax recorders it may not be the best technology winning, at least in the earlier stages.
#nanotubes Researches Develop Nanontubes That Can Increase Solar Panel Efficiencies
Researchers at Rice University have created a new nanotube that can absorb heat and convert it to electricity more efficiently.