5 advanced, new era nuclear reactors + Tomorrow's windows will generate electricity?

C C Offline
These 5 Advanced Nuclear Reactors Will Shape the Future of Energy (design, engineering)

INTRO: While much attention is paid to the buildup of large nuclear projects of the future, like the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), scientists are developing cutting-edge advanced fission reactors in the much nearer term.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) has formally thrown its weight behind five such projects that various groups, including established legacy energy companies, will build within the U.S. All are supported by the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP), which is expected to invest $600 million in the coming years.

Before we look at the five designs—and see just how soon they'll be ready for retail—it’s important to have some background on the idea of advanced fission reactors. Today, almost all working nuclear power plants use light water reactors, meaning a central nuclear fuel reaction cooled by regular, flowing water. But having just one paradigm in the mix doesn’t make sense for logistics or safety protocols. The new reactor designs rushing into the scientific discourse deploy technology and even natural physics to make safer, often smaller designs that can be used in different contexts. And today, most of these projects with DoE funding are proofs of concept that could lead to commercial power plants down the line... (MORE)

COVERED: Concept #1: Hermes Reduced-Scale Test Reactor ..... Concept #2: eVinci Microreactor ..... Concept #3: Advanced Nuclear Reactor ..... Concept #4: SMR-160 Reactor ..... Concept #5: Molten Chloride Reactor Experiment molten chloride reactor experiment

Invisible solar panels: how tomorrow’s windows will generate electricity (design, engineering)

RELEASE: Five years after the Paris climate agreement, all eyes are on the world’s progress on the road to a carbon-free future. A crucial part of this goal involves the energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources, such as sun, water, wind and wave energy. Among those, solar energy has always held the highest hope in the scientific community, as the most reliable and abundant energy source on Earth. In recent decades, solar cells have become cheaper, more efficient, and environment friendly. However, current solar cells tend to be opaque, which prevents their wider use and integration into everyday materials, constrained to being lined up on roofs and in remote solar farms.

But what if next-generation solar panels could be integrated to windows, buildings, or even mobile phone screens? That is the hope of Professor Joondong Kim from the Department of Electrical Engineering at Incheon National University, Korea. In a recent study published in Journal of Power Sources, he and his colleagues detail their latest invention: a fully transparent solar cell. “The unique features of transparent photovoltaic cells could have various applications in human technology,” says Prof. Kim.

The idea of transparent solar cells is well known, but this novel application where scientists have been able to translate this idea into practice is a crucial new finding. At present, the materials making the solar cell opaque are the semiconductor layers, those responsible for capturing light and translating it into an electrical current. Hence, Prof. Kim and his colleagues looked at two potential semiconductor materials, identified by previous researchers for their desirable properties.

The first is titanium dioxide (TiO2), a well-known semiconductor already widely used to make solar cells. On top of its excellent electrical properties, TiO2 is also an environment-friendly and non-toxic material. This material absorbs UV light (a part of the light spectrum invisible to the naked eye) while letting through most of the visible light range. The second material investigated to make this junction was nickel oxide (NiO), another semiconductor known to have high optical transparency. As nickel is one of the mist abundant elements on Earth, and its oxide can easily be manufactured at low industrial temperatures, NiO is also a great material to make eco-friendly cells.

The solar cell prepared by the researchers was composed of a glass substrate and a metal oxide electrode, on top of which they deposited thin layers of the semiconductors (TiO2 first, then NiO) and a final coating of silver nanowires, acting as the other electrode in the cell. They ran several tests to evaluate the device’s absorbance and transmittance of light, as well as its effectiveness as a solar cell.

Their findings were encouraging; with a power conversion efficiency of 2.1%, the cell’s performance was quite good, given that it targets only a small part of the light spectrum. The cell was also highly responsive and worked in low light conditions. Furthermore, more than 57% of visible light was transmitted through the cell’s layers, giving the cell this transparent aspect. In the final part of their experiment, the researchers demonstrated how their device could be used to power a small motor. “While this innovative solar cell is still very much in its infancy, our results strongly suggest that further improvement is possible for transparent photovoltaics by optimizing the cell’s optical and electrical properties,” suggests Prof. Kim.

Now that they have demonstrated the practicality of a transparent solar cell, they hope to further improve its efficiency in the near future. Only further research can tell whether they will indeed become a reality, but for all intents and purposes, this new technology opens a—quite literal—window into the future of clean energy.

Possibly Related Threads…
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Transparent wood could be architecture's windows of tomorrow C C 0 36 Oct 8, 2020 09:17 PM
Last Post: C C
  Engineers close in further on harnessing electricity from bacteria C C 0 242 Jan 13, 2019 09:13 PM
Last Post: C C
  Skyscrapers could soon generate their own power, thanks to see-through solar cells C C 2 392 Jul 3, 2018 07:48 PM
Last Post: RainbowUnicorn
  Smaller, Cheaper Nuclear Reactors Are on the Way C C 0 212 May 4, 2018 08:29 PM
Last Post: C C
  Designed to generate the most unpredictable numbers ever C C 0 329 Apr 11, 2018 07:49 PM
Last Post: C C
  Ancient device too advanced to be real + Eco cat furniture + Spacious/open tiny house C C 0 404 Jul 27, 2016 02:14 AM
Last Post: C C
  Refugee camps of tomorrow + Aquatic microbots + How should you mark your diodes? C C 1 430 Dec 2, 2015 03:38 PM
Last Post: elte

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)