Scientists have created a type of hybrid solar cell that harnesses both the sun’s light and heat simultaneously to create up to 5-times more energy than traditional panels, thanks to photovoltaic cells with polymer films. Researchers are experimenting with various substances to hybridize the material solar cells are composed of to increase efficiency. A recent test by Eunkyoung Kim and colleagues used a clear, conductive polymer called “PEDOT,” and the results were surprising to say the least. “The PEDOT film, which heats up in response to light, is layered with a dye-sensitive solar cell and then placed atop a pyroelectric thin film and a thermoelectric device, both of which can convert heat into electricity. The result is a contraption that harnesses solar energy at a rate of more than 20 percent higher than the solar cell on its own,” reports Inhabitat. In related news, continue reading to see a practical solar car we may actually be able to drive sooner than later.
Among the teams competing in next month’s 3000 kilometre World Solar Challenge race across Australia, is a group from the University of New South Wales who’ve built a solar-powered vehicle designed to look like a conventional car.
In a field dominated by vehicles that look anything but conventional, the car provides a glimpse of what we could be driving on the roads in years to come.
Lest Ranby was there for its first test drive.