Micro-pyramid lenses triple gentle hitting photo voltaic panels – TechCrunch

Stacks of teeny lenses that seem like inverted pyramids may juice up photo voltaic panels, serving to them seize extra gentle from any angle on each sunny and overcast days.

Photo voltaic panels carry out finest in direct daylight, which is why some photo voltaic methods monitor the large fireball throughout the sky, turning to face it for max gentle. Sadly, such monitoring tech is costly and transferring elements can break.

Shortcomings like these motivated researchers at Stanford to develop another. The ensuing tech—named Axially Graded Index Lens or AGILE for brief—presents a approach to enhance the effectivity of static photo voltaic panels, even in diffuse gentle, authors Nina Vaidya and Olav Solgaard mentioned in a peer-reviewed paper. Prototype arrays of AGILE lenses efficiently concentrated gentle right into a 3x smaller space, whereas retaining 90% of its energy in the perfect case situation, and effectively forward of extra elementary concentrators when the sunshine was extra slanted (generally concentrators can sacrifice gentle depth however come out forward of gathering angle). 

Concentrating gentle to squeeze extra vitality out of photo voltaic panels is nothing new, however the authors level out that concentrators akin to fresnel lenses and mirrors present solely “modest acceptance angles.” By the way, the pyramidal design additionally succeeds in wanting glamorous in a render video launched alongside the paper.

AGILE lens prototype shown in three stages of development

The AGILE lens prototype proven in three levels of improvement. A: Bonded glass. B: with aluminium sidewalls. C: with a photo voltaic cell absorbing gentle.

The web is plagued by neat concepts that would assist us seize extra vitality from the solar. Many are impressed by issues in nature, akin to butterfly wings, fly eyes, flower petals and even puffer fish. The design for AGILE “didn’t come from nature,” per Vaidya, however the paper acknowledges that “there are options of AGILE that may be discovered within the retina of fish (e.g. Gnathonemus) and compound eyes in bugs (e.g. Lepidoptera), the place a gradient index is current as anti-reflection to maximise transmission in addition to to allow camouflage.”

Although the researches didn’t announce any plans to commercialize AGILE, the prototypes had been designed with the photo voltaic trade in thoughts utilizing available supplies, in line with a Stanford press launch.

“Plentiful and inexpensive clear vitality is an important a part of addressing the pressing local weather and sustainability challenges,” mentioned Vaidya. “We have to catalyze engineering options to make {that a} actuality.”

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