Gallery: Stanford Unveils Solar Tech That Harnesses Light and Heat


Phot by Nick Melosh

We currently have two types of solar energy: energy generated from light, using silicon-based photovoltaic cells, and energy generated from heat, using solar concentrators and heat-conversion systems. What if we could collect both types of energy at once? Stanford researchers recently unveiled a new solar tech that can do exactly that — their PETE devices utilize a semiconducting material coated with cesium to boost efficiency levels up to 60 percentthree times that of existing systems.

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  1. zzrok March 7, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I believe it is talking about electrically. Because the photo-voltaic process is designed to convert sunlight directly into energy, and in the last paragraph they reference heat-conversion and solar power being equal to the price point of oil. I just now noticed they also talk about energy (usually meaning electricity) in some parts of the article as well “convert both light and heat into energy.”

  2. bkreamer August 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    It’s only the electric part of the process we are interested in, economically speaking. What is the efficiency of this part?
    The thermal side is less interesting – we already have solar thermal systems that surpass 80% efficiency. The classic problems are transporting the heat for use elsewhere, or converting it to electricity efficiently, neither of which seem to be addressed by this development (at least as reported).

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