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  • Solar energy from discarded car batteries

    [COLOR=#222222][FONT=nimbus-sans]MIT researchers have developed a simple procedure for making a promising type of solar cell using lead recovered from discarded lead-acid car batteries — a practice that could benefit both the environment and human health. As new lead-free car batteries come into use, old batteries would be sent to the solar industry rather than to landfills. And if production of this new, high-efficiency, low-cost solar cell takes off — as many experts think it will — manufacturers’ increased demand for lead could be met without additional lead mining and smelting. Laboratory experiments confirm that solar cells made with recycled lead work just as well as those made with high-purity, commercially available starting materials. Battery recycling could thus support production of these novel solar cells while researchers work to replace the lead with a more benign but equally effective material.[/FONT][/COLOR]

  • #2
    First off, Happy Holidays!

    Every day there are solar announcements from researchers that for whatever reason, NEVER make it to market, and are just investor-bait for vaporware products, or ultimately stuffing the chests for so-called non-producing-entity "IP" litigation trolls.

    This reads just like that from either a salesman or investment firm - red flags are "as many experts think it will".

    Hold tight to your investment portfolio.


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    • #3
      Sound slike a really bad sales pitch or Green Mafia.
      MSEE, PE

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      • #4
        Originally posted by PNjunction View Post
        First off, Happy Holidays!

        Every day there are solar announcements from researchers that for whatever reason, NEVER make it to market, and are just investor-bait for vaporware products, or ultimately stuffing the chests for so-called non-producing-entity "IP" litigation trolls.

        This reads just like that from either a salesman or investment firm - red flags are "as many experts think it will".

        Hold tight to your investment portfolio.

        I know the reason those new inventions never make it to the market. The majority of solar companies use silicon solar panels now, they invest millions of dollars buying those panels, and it's not in their best interest that a new more efficient technology would enter the market. They want to convince everyone that 20% efficiency is the peak for solar panels! There MUST be more efficient technologies, but the large companies block their promotion, they don't want to end up bankrupts like a notorious Solyndra, the solar company that used tubular solar panels in 2005-2009 when silicon cells just started developing. When they entered the market they turned out to be more efficient and less expensive to produce, Solyndra went out of business even though the company got $500 million dollar government investment! Basically, just like oil corporations don't want renewable energy to develop, the renewable energy companies, in turn, don't want new technologies become popular.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ndiakon View Post
          I know the reason those new inventions never make it to the market. The majority of solar companies use silicon solar panels now, they invest millions of dollars buying those panels, and it's not in their best interest that a new more efficient technology would enter the market. They want to convince everyone that 20% efficiency is the peak for solar panels! There MUST be more efficient technologies, but the large companies block their promotion,.
          I was wrong about you, not a Marketer orr student, you are Green Mafia. That is just plain nonsense and BLATHER. .
          MSEE, PE

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ndiakon View Post
            I know the reason those new inventions never make it to the market. The majority of solar companies use silicon solar panels now, they invest millions of dollars buying those panels, and it's not in their best interest that a new more efficient technology would enter the market. They want to convince everyone that 20% efficiency is the peak for solar panels! There MUST be more efficient technologies, but the large companies block their promotion, they don't want to end up bankrupts like a notorious Solyndra, the solar company that used tubular solar panels in 2005-2009 when silicon cells just started developing. When they entered the market they turned out to be more efficient and less expensive to produce, Solyndra went out of business even though the company got $500 million dollar government investment! Basically, just like oil corporations don't want renewable energy to develop, the renewable energy companies, in turn, don't want new technologies become popular.
            There is no question that existing companies do not want to see new competition when it comes to solar or batteries. And they may pay a lot to buy out that new stuff.

            Yet there have been so many new discoveries coming out of major research centers like MIT that you would expect at least some to make it to market. Unfortunately most scientific discoveries are not economically practically or require huge amounts of investment money that is never sent to get their product to market.

            I have personal experience with researching thin film Cadmium Sulfide solar panels at the University of Delaware that, while cheap to make did not become economical to produce.

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            • #7
              The big question is if these cells are so great, why are we waiting for illegal landfill rejects to bring them to market? There are PLENTY of used lead-acid batteries already waiting in the recycling chain right now for them to use. No excuse to not bring it to market.

              Bring it to market, otherwise it is a pipe-dream. And quite frankly, if the management can't bring it to market because of the big greedy corporations keeping them down, well perhaps that is more of a managerial / CFO problem, and not a technical one.

              So if one is going to invest in something, you had BETTER make sure you aren't investing solely in technology - it takes great MANAGEMENT to pull it off. You are investing in BOTH. If either one is lacking, then it is foolish to do so.

              Sadly, this reply is about the same for about 99% of the other vaporware breakthroughs we've seen and never materialized over the years.

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              • #8
                Solar PV technology is actually quite mature. Don't expect any radically better efficiency breakthroughs. The great advancements in recent years that boosted the industry are 95% production advancements with automated manufacturing that have brought down the price and improved reliability. The physics of the semiconductor PV effect limit it to a relatively narrow part of the visible light spectrum - thus the "low" efficiency. NASA achieves high efficiency by stacking 3 or more cells each tuned to a different part of the spectrum which of course is expensive and not cost effective on a commercial product.

                "Their must be MORE efficient technologies" Don't be naive. The world is full of energy - but you have to work hard to collect it and concentrate enough to be useful . The breakthrough we need is to establish solar with the 14,000+ building departments to allow easy permitting, and some modest amount of integrated battery storage so that grid tie inverters will help regulate and stabilize the grid. Then solar will be a benefit to utilities and can achieve higher penetration levels.
                BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

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                • #9
                  Efficiency is NOT IMPORTANT unless you are talking about aircraft or spacecraft. The most important thing to a market is MONEY. It makes the world go round. As a consumer th eimportant thing is $/watt. Nothing else matters. The MARKET always makes the right decision. No governement or activist can change that. History if ull of failed attempts by government and activist trying to change the MARKET. They always fail.

                  Solar will not and cannot win. We already have the winner, just a matter of time until we pull our heads out of our arse. We have millions of years of dirt cheap clean fuel. It is right under your feet. Nuclear energy is where the Market will go. Right now everything you think you know about nuclear energy is false. Right now the economics favor fossil fuel. Natural gas is is cheap and abundant for the next 50 years. Even gasoline eis cheap today. I was in TX last week and gas was $1.49/gal. There is no shortage of fuel. Just a huge shortage of information.
                  MSEE, PE

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                  • #10
                    Yeah, nuclear energy, but nuclear energy now is at the top-end almost. Or you have tech to utilise the radioactive waste.
                    Of course there is no shortage of fuel, there is planty of it. Fuel from shale in the U.S, are the one of reason why it's so cheap.
                    Below 40$/barrel...
                    [url]http://easysolar.co/[/url]

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                    • #11
                      I'd be a fan of nucler as well if they could just figure out (and factor in) the disposal and decommissioning costs - and don't forget the costs of Fukushima contaminating the Pacific ocean. Too bad they went with bad-failure-mode water cooled reactors back when, and too bad they didn't finish developing Thorium Salt reactors (but you can't make weapons grade Plutonium from those). If you factor all the costs of oil (huge army/navy to protect the supply chain), coal (300 - 500 Billion/yr in health costs), Nat gas (just the potential climate change costs of burning CO2), the simple costs of clean, renewable solar power would look pretty good. We haven't solved the intermittentcy problem of remewable power (yet) and still need better affordable batteries but they are coming....
                      BSEE, R11, NABCEP, Chevy BoltEV, >2000kW installed

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by ndiakon View Post
                        [COLOR=#222222][FONT=nimbus-sans]MIT researchers have developed a simple procedure for making a promising type of solar cell using lead recovered from discarded lead-acid car batteries — a practice that could benefit both the environment and human health. As new lead-free car batteries come into use, old batteries would be sent to the solar industry rather than to landfills. And if production of this new, high-efficiency, low-cost solar cell takes off — as many experts think it will — manufacturers’ increased demand for lead could be met without additional lead mining and smelting. Laboratory experiments confirm that solar cells made with recycled lead work just as well as those made with high-purity, commercially available starting materials. Battery recycling could thus support production of these novel solar cells while researchers work to replace the lead with a more benign but equally effective material.[/FONT][/COLOR]


                        Solar panels are a technology which get better and cheaper with time. Cost have declined 50% in 5 years and cost are projected to continue falling. Efficiency should continue to rise year by year as it has in the past. More efficient solar panels also lower the balance of systems cost since it is cheaper to install fewer panels. Of course not all research reaches commericialization, but some research efforts do. Solar is gong to be very cheap in the future.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by veritass View Post



                          Solar panels are a technology which get better and cheaper with time. Cost have declined 50% in 5 years and cost are projected to continue falling. Efficiency should continue to rise year by year as it has in the past. More efficient solar panels also lower the balance of systems cost since it is cheaper to install fewer panels. Of course not all research reaches commericialization, but some research efforts do. Solar is gong to be very cheap in the future.
                          Even if solar panels get down to 50 cents a watt, the majority of the cost will be in the labor to install the system.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by SunEagle View Post

                            Even if solar panels get down to 50 cents a watt, the majority of the cost will be in the labor to install the system.
                            Exactly, high efficient solar panels lower installation costs since it is cheaper to install fewer panels. For
                            example if your panels as twice as efficient compared to other panels, then you only need to install half the number of panels
                            to get the same output.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by veritass View Post
                              Exactly, high efficient solar panels lower installation costs since it is cheaper to install fewer panels. For
                              example if your panels as twice as efficient compared to other panels, then you only need to install half the number of panels
                              to get the same output.
                              And the fixed costs associated with labor like office expenses, trucks, insurance, etc. will be about the same. It ain't as simple as you might think.

                              As for panel efficiency improvements, that will happen, but not quickly and not as easily as you may think. The Thermodynamic limit on silicon cell eff. is probably something like 32% or so without fancy frequency/wavelength matching schemes or other engineering tricks. Looks like the practical limit might be something like maybe 25% or so for the near/mid term for something on your roof that's reliable. Current STC eficiencies are ~ 20% +/- a bit.

                              Most everything else is peddler B.S, or numbskull wishing thinking from non thinking and technically ignorant tree hugger types with ".You could just do this and voila - problem solved" attitudes.

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