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solar energy

Nobuo Kimizuka, Nobuhiro Yanai, Masa-Aki Morikawa
Self-assembly of functional molecules into ordered molecular assemblies and fulfillment of potentials unique to their nano-to-mesoscopic structures have been one of the central challenges in chemistry. This Feature Article provides an overview of recent progress in the field of molecular self-assembly with the focus on the triplet-triplet annihilation-based photon upconversion (TTA-UC) and supramolecular storage of photon energy. Based on the integration of molecular self-assembly and photon energy harvesting, triplet energy migration-based TTA-UC has been achieved in varied molecular systems...
October 19, 2016: Langmuir: the ACS Journal of Surfaces and Colloids
Bhaskar Dudem, Yeong Hwan Ko, Jung Woo Leem, Joo Ho Lim, Jae Su Yu
We report the hierarchical nano/micro architectured (HNMA)-polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) film-based hybrid energy cells with multi-functionality to simultaneously harvest mechanical, solar, and wind energies. These films consist of nano/micro dual-scale architectures (i.e., nanonipples on inverted micro pyramidal arrays) on the PDMS surface. The HNMA-PDMS is replicable by a facile and cost-effective soft imprint lithography (SIL) using a nanoporous anodic alumina oxide (AAO) film formed on the micro-pyramidal (MP) structured silicon substrate...
October 19, 2016: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Yasemin Saygili, Magnus Söderberg, Norman Pellet, Fabrizio Giordano, Yiming Cao, Ana B Munoz-Garcia, Shaik Mohammed Zakeeruddin, Nick Vlachopoulos, Michele Pavone, Gerrit Boschloo, Ladislav Kavan, Jacques-E Moser, Michael Grätzel, Anders Hagfeldt, Marina Freitag
Redox mediators play a major role determining the photocurrent and the photovoltage in dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs). To maintain the photocurrent, the reduction of oxidized dye by the redox mediator should be significantly faster than the back electron transfer between TiO2 and the oxidized dye. The driving force for dye regeneration with the redox mediator should be sufficiently low to provide high photovoltages. With our introduction of new copper complexes as promising redox mediators in DSCs both criteria are satisfied to enhance power conversion efficiencies...
October 17, 2016: Journal of the American Chemical Society
Shuguang Chen, Hailang Jia, Mengxi Zheng, Kang Shen, Hegen Zheng
Herein we prepare four novel D-π-A dyes based on triphenylamine (ZHG1, ZHG2, ZHG3 and ZHG4) by modifying the π-bridges. Compared with ZHG1, the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of ZHG2 is improved to 6.1% after the introduction of ethynyl. But further extension of the conjugation of the π-bridges by introducing the chromophore 4,8-bis(n-octyloxy)-benzo[1,2-b:4,5-b']dithiophene (BDT) into ZHG3 conversely decreases the PCE to 4.6%. Improving the coplanarity by replacing cyclobenzene with thiophene in ZHG4 after introducing BDT further decreases the PCE of ZHG4 to 4...
October 17, 2016: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics: PCCP
Yang Yang, Di Xu, Qingyong Wu, Peng Diao
Solar powered hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is one of the key reactions in solar-to-chemical energy conversion. It is desirable to develop photocathodic materials that exhibit high activity toward photoelectrochemical (PEC) HER at more positive potentials because a higher potential means a lower overpotential for HER. In this work, the Cu2O/CuO bilayered composites were prepared by a facile method that involved an electrodeposition and a subsequent thermal oxidation. The resulting Cu2O/CuO bilayered composites exhibited a surprisingly high activity and good stability toward PEC HER, expecially at high potentials in alkaline solution...
October 17, 2016: Scientific Reports
Dong Jin Lee, G Mohan Kumar, P Ilanchezhiyan, Jae-Chul Lee, Sung Ryong Ryu, Tae Won Kang
Nowadays, solid-state inorganic-organic hybrid solar cells based on one-dimensional (1D) inorganic semiconducting nanostructures and organic polymers are believed to offer convincing solutions for the realm of next generation solar cells. In this regard, 1D ZnCdS nanowire (NW) arrays were fabricated on transparent conducting substrates through a catalyst free co-evaporation method and their wurtzite structural characteristics, 1D morphological layout and valence state/composition were studied in detail using X-ray diffraction, high-resolution electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, respectively...
October 5, 2016: Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Ronald Esteban Aguilar Alvarez, Mauricio Bustamante Roman, Dana Kirk, Jose Alberto Miranda Chavarria, Daniel Baudrit, Jose Francisco Aguilar Pereira, Werner Rodriguez Montero, Dawn Reinhold, Wei Liao
The purpose of this study was to implement and evaluate a pilot-scale and closed-loop system that synergistically combines solar thermal collector, anaerobic digester, and constructed treatment wetland to simultaneously treat and utilize organic wastes. The system utilizes 863 kg of mixed animal and food wastes to generate 263 MJ renewable energy, produced 28 kg nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer, and reclaimed 550 kg water per day. The net revenue considering electricity and fertilizer was $2436 annually...
October 11, 2016: Journal of Environmental Management
Laura Calió, Samrana Kazim, Michael Grätzel, Shahzada Ahmad
The pressure to move towards renewable energy has inspired researchers to look for ideas in photovoltaics that may lead to a major breakthrough. Recently the use of perovskites as a light harvester has lead to stunning progress. The power conversion efficiency of perovskite solar cells is now approaching parity (>22 %) with that of the established technology which took decades to reach this level of performance. The use of a hole transport material (HTM) remains indispensable in perovskite solar cells...
October 14, 2016: Angewandte Chemie
Qunwei Tang, Yanyan Duan, Benlin He, Haiyan Chen
Solar cells that can harvest energy in all weathers are promising in solving the energy crisis and environmental problems. The power outputs are nearly zero under dark conditions for state-of-the-art solar cells. To address this issue, we present herein a class of platinum alloy (PtMx , M=Ni, Fe, Co, Cu, Mo) tailored all-weather solar cells that can harvest energy from rain and realize photoelectric conversion under sun illumination. By tuning the stoichiometric Pt/M ratio and M species, the optimized solar cell yields a photoelectric conversion efficiency of 10...
October 14, 2016: Angewandte Chemie
Sheng Chu, Shizhao Fan, Yongjie Wang, David Rossouw, Yichen Wang, Gianluigi A Botton, Zetian Mi
Syngas, the mixture of CO and H2 , is a key feedstock to produce methanol and liquid fuels in industry, yet limited success has been made to develop clean syngas production using renewable solar energy. We demonstrated that syngas with a benchmark turnover number of 1330 and a desirable CO/H2 ratio of 1:2 could be attained from photoelectrochemical CO2 and H2 O reduction in an aqueous medium by exploiting the synergistic co-catalytic effect between Cu and ZnO. The CO/H2 ratio in the syngas products was tuned in a large range between 2:1 and 1:4 with a total unity Faradaic efficiency...
October 14, 2016: Angewandte Chemie
Xiao Liu, Shinji Inagaki, Jinlong Gong
Artificial photosynthesis-reduction of CO2 into chemicals and fuels with water oxidation in the presence of sunlight as the energy source-mimics natural photosynthesis in green plants, and is considered to have a significant part to play in future energy supply and protection of our environment. The high quantum efficiency and easy manipulation of heterogeneous molecular photosystems based on metal complexes enables them to act as promising platforms to achieve efficient conversion of solar energy. This Review describes recent developments in the heterogenization of such photocatalysts...
October 14, 2016: Angewandte Chemie
Xin-Xing Zhan, Xin Zhang, Si-Min Dai, Shu-Hui Li, Xu-Zhai Lu, Lin-Long Deng, Su-Yuan Xie, Rong-Bin Huang, Lan-Sun Zheng
Despite being widely used as electron acceptor in polymer solar cells, commercially available PC71BM (phenyl-C71-butyric acid methyl ester) usually has a "random" composition of mixed regioisomers or stereoisomers. Here the PC71BM has been isolated into three typical isomers, α-, β1- and β2-PC71BM, for establishing the isomer-dependent photovoltaic performance on change of ternary composition of α-, β1- and β2-PC71BM. Mixing the isomers in a ratio of α:β1:β2=8:1:1 resulted in the best power conversion efficiency (PCE) of 7...
October 13, 2016: Chemistry: a European Journal
Haipeng Chu, Xinjuan Liu, Baibai Liu, Guang Zhu, Wenyan Lei, Huigang Du, Junying Liu, Jianwei Li, Can Li, Changqing Sun
To make full use of the solar energy, exploring broad spectrum active photocatalysts has become one of the core issues for photocatalysis. Here we report a novel hexagonal 2H-MoSe2 photocatalyst with ultraviolet (UV)-visible-near infrared (NIR) light response for the first time. The results indicate that the MoSe2 displays excellent photo-absorption and photocatalytic activity in the reduction of Cr(VI) under UV and visible even NIR light irradiation. MoSe2 synthesized at pH value of 2 achieves the highest Cr(VI) reduction rates of 99%, 91% and 100% under UV, visible and NIR light irradiation, respectively, which should be attributed to its comparatively higher light absorption, efficient charge separation and transfer as well as relatively large number of surface active sites...
October 13, 2016: Scientific Reports
Randy P Sabatini, Michael F Mark, Daniel J Mark, Mark W Kryman, Jacqueline E Hill, William W Brennessel, Michael R Detty, Richard Eisenberg, David W McCamant
Although rhodamine dyes have been extensively studied for a variety of applications, many details of their photophysics are not yet fully understood, including the possible presence of a charge separated electronic state lying near the optically active excited singlet state and the role of twisting substituent groups in excited-state quenching. To address this, a large library of rhodamine dyes was studied in which the chalcogen is varied from O, to S and Se and the aryl group is either absent (in the pyronin series) or is a phenyl or thienyl substituent...
October 13, 2016: Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences
Greg A Barron-Gafford, Rebecca L Minor, Nathan A Allen, Alex D Cronin, Adria E Brooks, Mitchell A Pavao-Zuckerman
While photovoltaic (PV) renewable energy production has surged, concerns remain about whether or not PV power plants induce a "heat island" (PVHI) effect, much like the increase in ambient temperatures relative to wildlands generates an Urban Heat Island effect in cities. Transitions to PV plants alter the way that incoming energy is reflected back to the atmosphere or absorbed, stored, and reradiated because PV plants change the albedo, vegetation, and structure of the terrain. Prior work on the PVHI has been mostly theoretical or based upon simulated models...
October 13, 2016: Scientific Reports
Liangang Xiao, Song Chen, Ke Gao, Xiaobin Peng, Feng Liu, Yong Cao, Wai-Yeung Wong, Wai-Kwok Wong, Xunjin Zhu
To mimic the natural photosynthetic systems utilizing chlorophylls to absorb light and store light energy, two new porphyrin-based small molecules of PTTR and PTTCNR have been developed for photovoltaic applications. The highest power conversion efficiency of 8.21% is achieved, corresponding to a short-circuit current of 14.30 mA cm-2, open-circuit voltage of 0.82 V, and fill factor of 70.01%. The excellent device performances can be ascribed to the engineering of molecule structure and film morphology. The horizontal conjugation of 3,3''-dihexyl-terthiophene to porphyrin-core with the vertical aliphatic 2-octylundecyl peripheral substitutions, can not only effectively increase the solar flux coverage between the conventional Soret and Q bands of porphyrin unit, but also optimize molecular packing through polymorphism associated with side-chains and the linear π-conjugated backbones...
October 12, 2016: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Feng Cao, Yi Huang, Lu Tang, Tianyi Sun, Svetlana V Boriskina, Gang Chen, Zhifeng Ren
The promising quad-band solar spectral splitter incorporates the properties of the optical filter and the spectrally selective solar thermal absorber can direct PV band to PV modules and absorb thermal band energy for thermal process with low thermal losses. It provides a new strategy for spectral splitting and offers potential ways for hybrid PVT system design.
October 12, 2016: Advanced Materials
Yaping Yu, Yang Wu, Andong Zhang, Cheng Li, Zheng Tang, Wei Ma, Yonggang Wu, Weiwei Li
Conjugated polymers consisting of diketopyrrolopyrrole (DPP) units have been successfully applied in field-effect transistors (FETs) and polymer solar cells (PSCs), while most of DPP polymers were designed as symmetric structures containing identical aromatic linkers. In this manuscript, we design a new asymmetric DPP polymer with varied aromatic linkers in the backbone for application in FETs and PSCs. The designation provides the chance to finely adjust the energy levels of conjugated polymers so as to influence the device performance...
October 12, 2016: ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Daochuan Jiang, Rana Muhammad Irfan, Zijun Sun, Dapeng Lu, Pingwu Du
Photocatalytic production of hydrogen by water splitting is a promising pathway for the conversion of solar energy into chemical energy. However, the photocatalytic conversion efficiency is often limited by the sluggish transfer of the photogenerated charge carriers, charge recombination, and subsequent slow catalytic reactions. Herein, we report a highly active noble-metal-free photocatalytic system for hydrogen production in water. The system contains a water-soluble nickel complex as a molecular cocatalyst and zinc sulfide on 1D cadmium sulfide as the heterojunction photocatalyst...
October 12, 2016: ChemSusChem
Y Hou, X Yu, Z Ahmed Syed, S Shen, J Bai, T Wang
A prototype photoelectrode has been fabricated using a GaN nano-pyramid array structure grown on a cost-effective Si (111) substrate, demonstrating a significant improvement in performance of solar-powered water splitting compared with any planar GaN photoelectrode. Such a nano-pyramid structure leads to enhanced optical absorption as a result of a multi-scattering process which can effectively produce a reduction in reflectance. A simulation based on a finite-difference time-domain approach indicates that the nano-pyramid architecture enables incident light to be concentrated within the nano-pyramids as a result of micro-cavity effects, further enhancing optical absorption...
November 11, 2016: Nanotechnology
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