LHC gets an energy boost, brings Higgs boson closer to reality

LHC CERN

For those who are not aware, Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the biggest energy particle accelerator in the world that was developed by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). As an important advancement on this front, CERN has reported that the LHC will operate with an energy beam of 4TeV in 2012.

This speed is apparently 0.5TeV higher than that observed in 2010 and 2011. The announcement has been made following a plan to deliver the largest possible amount of data by LHC. The team aims to achieve this before the accelerator is shut down for further energy enhancement.

“When we started operating the LHC for physics in 2010, we chose the lowest safe beam energy consistent with the physics we wanted to do. Two good years of operational experience with beam and many additional measurements made during 2011 give us the confidence to safely move up a notch, and thereby extend the physics reach of the experiments before we go into the LHC’s first long shutdown,” cited CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology, Steve Myers.

According to experts, the performance of LHC over the last 2 years has unleashed many clues on the presence of the God particle. However, to transform the hints into a proper discovery, professionals need more information. The LHC is slated to be closed down at the conclusion of 2012 to undergo optimization for running at an energy beam of approximately 7TeV.

Following the shutdown, the LHC is expected to restart at a later stage in 2014. It will begin functioning for physics with the newly attained energy beam by early 2015.

Neutrinos not faster than light?

IceCube Observatory

An international team of professionals challenged the theory of relativity and urged other scientists from all over the world to have a look at their research. In one such experiment, scientists from the Ohio State University have closely examined if certain particles called neutrinos travel faster than light.

In the trial, the neutrinos were timed as they traveled through Earth while covering about 730km to Gran Sasso. The team believed that if these particles moved at the speed of light, they would have reached about 60 nanoseconds faster than the time they took.

For creating the neutrinos, the team hit fast-moving protons on a still target while producing tons of pions in the process. The latter supposedly decayed into a number of muons and neutrinos. While the muons ceased to move towards the end, the neutrinos surpassed the blocks and paced in the direction of the Gran Sasso laboratory.

The scientists are of the opinion that if the neutrinos coming out via the process of pion decay were faster than the speed of light, the pion life span would have been extended too. Also, in this case the neutrino would carry some amount of energy present in the muon.

“We are saying that, given physics as we know it today, it should be hard to produce any neutrinos with superluminal velocities, and Cohen and Glashow are saying that even if you did, they’d quickly radiate away their energy and slow down,” commented Ramanath Cowsik, PhD, professor of physics in Arts & Sciences and director of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Moreover, the complexities could rise if the energy of the pion increases. As per the findings of the neutrino observatory called IceCube, high-energy pions apparently decayed into neutrinos approaching the speed of light, but did not manage to surpass it.

The report is published in the journal, Physical Review Letters.

Novel Technology Allegedly Produces Electricity And Captures Carbon Dioxide

Oil Shale Approximately 3 trillion barrels of oil are probably trapped in the world’s deposits of oil-shale, a dark-colored rock laden with petroleum-like material. The United States has apparently been the world’s largest deposits in the Green River Formation, which covers parts of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. Investigators have now detected a novel technology that not only produces electricity, but also captures carbon dioxide to make billions of barrels of oil shale.

This newly developed technology can be seemingly made available as an energy source in a greenhouse world of the future. Estimations claim that the total domestic oil resource is 1.2 trillion to 1.8 trillion barrels. However, large amounts of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide may be released through current methods for extracting oil from shale. This appears as a major cause of worry and limits the usage of these deposits.

Well, the novel way reportedly generates energy from oil shale without producing greenhouse gases. Adam Brandt and colleagues mention that large amounts of electricity can now be generated without releasing carbon dioxide from burning the shale. The carbon can be seemingly captured and stored underground as part of the production process.

The research is published in ACS’ journal Energy & Fuels.

New Energy Harvesters Reportedly Transform Waste Into Electricity

ORNL Logo Every year billions of dollars are spent in converting waste heat from industrial processes into electricity. On that note, ORNL scientists have now crafted a high-efficiency thermal waste heat energy converter that actively cools electronic devices, photovoltaic cells, computers and large waste heat-producing systems while generating electricity. This converter can seemingly save industry money through increased process efficiencies and reduced fuel costs while diminishing greenhouse gas emissions.

This technology was previously built to cool high-performance computer chips and thereby helping to solve an enormous problem facing manufacturers of petaflop-scale computers. These mega machines are believed to produce massive amounts of heat that must be removed, and the more efficient the process the better. The newly introduced energy converter apparently employs cantilever structures that are about 1 millimeter square in size. Approximately 1,000 of these energy converters can be supposedly attached to a 1-inch square surface such as a computer chip, concentrated photovoltaic cell or other devices that generate heat.

“The tip of the hot cantilever comes into contact with a cold surface, the heat sink, where it rapidly loses its heat, causing the cantilever to move back and make contact with the hot surface,” Scott Hunter, said. “The cantilever then cools and cycles back to the cold heat sink. “The cantilever continues to oscillate between the heat source and heat sink as long as the temperature difference is maintained between the hot and cold surfaces.”

Even though the amount of electricity each device can generate is small, many arrays of these devices appear beneficial in generating sizable amounts of electricity. This in turn may power remote sensor systems or assist in the active cooling of the heat generating device, reducing cooling demands. The fast rate of exchange in the temperature across the pyroelectric material seems to be the key to the energy conversion efficiency and high electrical power generation. The device is purportedly based on an energy harvesting system that features a micro-electro-mechanical, or MEMS, pyroelectric capacitor structure. This structure when heated and cooled presumably leads to current flow in alternate directions.

The research was funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program.

ORNL Solar Cell Technology May Enhance Efficiency

Nanocone Based Solar Cell Here is a probable means to boost the efficiency of photovoltaics by nearly 80 percent. Investigators from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory have now crafted a 3-D nanocone-based solar cell platform to improve the light-to-power conversion efficiency of photovoltaics. This technology can supposedly overcome the problem of poor transport of charges generated by solar photons.

The negative electrons and positive holes apparently become trapped by defects in bulk materials and their interfaces which in turn degrade performance. In order to solve the entrapment problems that reduce solar cell efficiency, investigators developed a nanocone-based solar cell. They also invented methods to synthesize these cells and demonstrated better charge collection efficiency. The new solar structure probably contains n-type nanocones that are surrounded by a p-type semiconductor.

These n-type nanoncones are allegedly made from zinc oxide and serve as the junction framework as well as the electron conductor. The p-type matrix, on the other hand, fabricated with the help of polycrystalline cadmium telluride, may serve as the primary photon absorber medium and hole conductor. Jun Xu, a member of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division and colleagues claim to have achieved a light-to-power conversion efficiency of 3.2 percent as compared to 1.8 percent efficiency of conventional planar structure of the same materials.

The three-dimensional structure supposedly offers an intrinsic electric field distribution that promotes efficient charge transport and high efficiency in converting energy from sunlight into electricity. The key features of the solar material presumably encompass its unique electric field distribution that achieves efficient charge transport, the synthesis of nanocones using inexpensive proprietary methods and the minimization of defects along with voids in semiconductors.

The latter reportedly provides improved electric and optical properties for conversion of solar photons to electricity. Thanks to efficient charge transport, the new solar cell can seemingly withstand defective materials and simultaneously decrease cost of manufacturing next-generation solar cells. The important concept behind this invention appears its nanocone shape that can produce a high electric field in the vicinity of the tip junction.

The research was supported by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program and the Department of Energy’s Office of Nonproliferation Research and Engineering.

Enzyme Cocktail Apparently Eliminates A Step In Biofuel Process

Virginia Tech Logo For converting biomass into fuel certain steps have to be taken such as chemical pretreatment to break up the biomass with dilute sulfuric acid; detoxification to remove the toxic chemicals; then microbial fermentation to convert the soluble sugars into fuels. In a major breakthrough, Virginia Tech researchers claim to have discovered an enzyme mixture that is effective in the presence of the toxin-infused liquid biomass. Employment of this enzyme mixture possibly helps eliminate the detoxification step.

Exclusion of the detoxification step apparently reduces cost of producing biofuels and enhances biofuel yields by restricting the production of by-products and synthesis of cell mass. Since enzymes can self-assemble a cell-free synthetic pathway, they can be seemingly utilized for biological reactions to work without the other complex interactions that take place within a cell. The cell-free synthetic pathway process presumably improves efficiency and reaction rate.

The enzyme cocktail apparently consists of 12 purified enzymes and coenzymes which work in the presence of microorganism-toxic compounds from dilute-acid pretreated biomass. Enzyme systems may not require high-purity substrates for biotransformation. Hence, Y.H. Percival Zhang, associate professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech and colleagues presume that pretreatment bioconversion can be conducted directly after chemical catalysis.

The research was published in the journal Chemistry and Biology.

Novel Means To Harvest Energy From Sunlight Unraveled

Robert Hilton While mankind is aware about several means to improve solar power and its production, the need for harvesting energy from the sun does arise. And here is a discovery which can probably boost energy production. Scientists from the BYU have now laid hands on an artificial system of photosynthesis for harvesting energy from sunlight.

As part of the investigation, researchers employed a common protein which is predicted to react with sunlight and harvest its energy. This process appears similar to what chlorophyll does during photosynthesis. In order to prove their findings, experts mixed citric acid from oranges with the protein. They then dissolved gold powder into the solution and added vials of the yellow-colored mixture in direct sunlight. As a result, the solution turned purple which indicates that the gold atoms have acquired electrons.

The energy was used to bunch together as small, purple-colored nanoparticles. So the protein may have employed the sunlight to excite the citric acid and transfer energy. The impact of direct sunlight was apparently registered within 20 minutes, but a high-powered tungsten mercury lamp worked at a much faster rate. When Professor Richard Watt and colleagues set the system up and turned on the light, the solution turned purple. Further attempts will be made to find ways of storing the harvested energy.

The research is published in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

Probable Map Boosting Solar Power Unveiled

Professor Jan Kleissl Power achieved by harnessing the sun has been tremendously helpful to mankind. Several technologies and methods have been put forth for accelerating solar power and here is another piece of information that can supposedly prove beneficial. A latest research led by UC San Diego has laid down the importance of sketching out solar installation depending upon the location of the building relative to the sun.

During the investigation, scientists claim to have improved the solar map for the state of California. This newly crafted map apparently enables homeowners, photovoltaic installers and utilities to better gauge the amount of energy gained by their solar systems. The solar map appears particularly significant to all coastal areas of California like Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Diego. The panels employed in these regions possibly face around 10-degrees west of south.

The map is not only able to optimize energy production, but also seems to enhance the link between solar power production and the load. Panels facing southwest allegedly ‘see’ the sun longer and at a better angle than panels facing south. Therefore, the energy produced is larger during the peak demand hours of 3-to-5p.m., making the energy more valuable. UC San Diego environmental engineering professor Jan Kleissl and colleagues believe that the solar panels in clear conditions during the annual load peaks produce optimum power. The map presumably elevating energy generation is available for free via Google Earth.

The research is published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Pre-Roasted Plants May Save Energy Fuel

Willow Branches Most UK power stations are currently burning plant matter, coal or biomass to minimize their carbon footprint. The carbon dioxide released on burning plants such as Miscanthus and poplar is assumingly absorbed during photosynthesis by the next batch of ‘energy crops’ planted in their place. Investigators from the University of Leeds suggest that roasting ‘green’ fuel prior to burning it into coal-fired power stations leads to more plant matter.

The fibrous plant matter is very difficult to process in the mills that are used to grind dry lumps of coal into dust before they are burned. During the roasting process called torrefaction, the plant matter gets heated to approximately 300 degrees centigrade in an air-free container. The bulky biomass transformed into a dry, energy-rich fuel is cheaper, easier to move around and comes along with a much longer shelf life. At the time of the research, experts utilized two common energy crops, willow and Miscanthus. Experiments initiated on these plants assert that when the plant matter is ‘torrefied’ it can be ground into a powder just like some good quality coals.

The research findings can supposedly benefit farmers interested in growing energy crops on areas of poorer quality soil. Professor Jenny Jones and colleagues are currently conducting tests to find out if the torrefaction process can be scaled up in designing ‘blueprint’ for industrial engineers. Also questions about the safety, practicality and environmental impact of large-scale torrefaction will be thoroughly analyzed.

New Dyes May Help Solar Technologies Produce Clean Electricity And Hydrogen Fuel

University Of Buffalo Logo Over the past decades solar technology has been considered extremely crucial for fulfilling needs of generating power. While the Stanford University had previously put forth a unique way for improving solar power production, here is another method that probably benefits solar technologies. Chemists from the University at Buffalo have apparently synthesized a new class of photosensitizing dyes for elevating the efficiency of light-driven systems that develop solar electricity and clean-burning hydrogen fuel.

From commercial point of view, the findings can supposedly form the basis of cost-effective technologies to power almost anything from household appliances to hydrogen vehicles. The dyes known as chalcogenorhodamine may operate as part of a Grätzel-type solar cell for producing electricity. This solar cell reportedly converts sunlight into an electric current. As sunlight strikes the dyes, the energy seems to loosen electrons in the dyes, which migrate through the solar cell, forming the current.

The same process apparently takes place in the mechanism for producing hydrogen also. When sunlight strikes the dyes it frees electrons, but instead of forming a current, the electrons presumably flow into a catalyst. There the electrons supposedly drive a chemical reaction for splitting water into its basic elements which are hydrogen and oxygen. UB Professor Michael Detty and colleagues triggered various laboratory tests for showing that a chalcogenorhodamin system is capable of generating hydrogen at unprecedented rates. The newly introduced dyes appear beneficial for solar technologies as they absorb light more intensely and transfer their electrons more fluently than conventional dyes.

The research was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in October 2010.

Identified Hydrogen Storage Material Seems To Overcome DOE Standards

Rice University Logo Hydrogen may have immense potential as a future fuel for cars and in various industries. Well, scientists working on making this chemical element a promising alternative can possibly benefit from the following discovery. Investigators from the Rice University have apparently found a class of power-storing materials known as metallacarborane that can easily surpass the benchmarks set by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Hydrogen Program for 2015.

In order to hold together a load of hydrogen molecules, researchers lightly tapped the power of transition metals scandium and titanium. Metallacarboranes can develop a matrix which could probably hold up to 8.8 percent of its weight in hydrogen atoms. This percentage seems to be very low for meeting and exceeding DOE guidelines laid down a year ago for cars running on hydrogen fuel. Molecules such as boron, carbon and metal atoms are known to combine very easily in a cage-like structure. Experts believe that a single metal atom can bind multiple hydrogen molecules, but metals tend to aggregate. They may clump into a blob and therefore be of no use.

Boris Yakobson Rice theoretical physicist, enlightened, “Kubas is a special interaction that you often see mentioned in hydrogen research, because it gives exactly the right binding strength. If you remember basic chemistry, you know that covalent bonds are very strong. You can bind hydrogen, but you cannot take it out. And on the other extreme is weak physisorption. The molecules don’t form chemical bonds. They’re just exhibiting a weak attraction through the van der Waals force. Kubas interaction is in the middle and gives the right kind of binding so hydrogen can be stored and, if you change conditions — heat it up a little or reduce pressure — it can be taken out. You want the framework to be like a fuel tank.”

Boron clusters that possibly grip the titanium and scandium further binding hydrogen were measured. Metals appear to fit like gem in a setting and don’t accumulate. Experts claim that carbon links with the clusters to form a matrix known as metal organic framework (MOF), which can act like a sponge for hydrogen. Having conducted various transition metals, it was ascertained that scandium and titanium have the highest rate of adsorption. It was elucidated that adsorption means the adhesion of transient molecules like hydrogen to a surface. Both titanium and scandium display an affinity for ‘Kubas’ interaction. In this interaction a trading of electrons is initiated which may bind atoms to one another in certain circumstances.

Reversible storage of hydrogen is supposedly acquired in Kubas, but only during ambient conditions that range from well above or well below room temperature. This process may make metallacarborane materials highly eligible for daily usage. Also physisorption of hydrogen can probably occur at a much lower percentage by the carbon matrix. Prior investigations have seemingly highlighted ways to make carborane-based MOFs. So, three-dimensional frameworks of material still appear accessible to gas.

The research is published in the online Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Water-Based ‘Artificial Leaf’ Apparently Generates Electricity

NC State Text Logo

As the world tends to run out of resources generating electricity, this tidbit seems to find a way to overcome this crisis. Researchers from the North Carolina State University suggest that water-gel-based solar devices like ‘artificial leaves’ are capable of acting akin solar cells to produce electricity. This newly identified approach appears to be affordable and more environment friendly as compared to the present day standard-bearer silicon-based solar cells.

Bendable devices are known to encompass water-based gel infused with light-sensitive molecules. Researchers utilized plant chlorophyll in one of the experiments. This chlorophyll was combined together with electrodes coated by carbon materials, like carbon nanotubes or graphite. Scientists assume that light-sensitive molecules get hyper by the sun’s rays to produce electricity. This process may be very much alike the plant molecules that get excited to synthesize sugars for growing.

“We do not want to overpromise at this stage, as the devices are still of relatively low efficiency and there is a long way to go before this can become a practical technology. However, we believe that the concept of biologically inspired ‘soft’ devices for generating electricity may in the future provide an alternative for the present-day solid-state technologies,” remarked NC State’s Dr. Orlin Velev, Invista Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and lead investigator.

It was elucidated that synthetic light-sensitive molecules can also be employed, but naturally occurring material such as chlorophyll quickly merge in devices due to their water-gel matrix. Further experiments will be commenced to mimic the self-regenerating mechanisms discovered in plants. Experts will be trying to alter the water-based gel and light-sensitive molecules to boost the ability of solar cells.

The findings are published online in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Swedish Biofuels Benefit Climate, Claim Researchers

Lund University Logo The much controversial use of biofuels produced by food crops like ethanol from cereals or biodiesel from rapeseed seems to have taken a unique turn. Investigators from the Lund University claim that Swedish biofuels produce between 65 and 140 percent less greenhouse gas emissions as compared to petrol and diesel. The results were approved even after considering direct and indirect land use changes.

It was once argued that Swedish biofuels are not beneficial to the climate as they crowd food production and force new land clearance for cultivation of food in other countries instead. It is assumed that the land in these countries is rich in carbon so it releases a lot of carbon dioxide. But this argument apparently lacks evidence of such a connection with the current production levels. The scientists examined various types of biogas, ethanol and biodiesel. It was noted that biogas from manure produces outcomes 140 percent better than petrol and diesel. So it can be concluded that biogas is more than climate neutral. Its alternative displayed worst results and performed twice as well as the EU directive. According to the EU directive, biofuels should decline greenhouse gas emissions by at least 35 percent compared with fossil fuels.

Pal Borjesson, researcher in Environment and Energy Systems at Lund University, who is responsible for the report, remarked, “We have calculated as fairly as possible and based on as similar conditions as possible. Our results do not indicate that biofuels produced from crops grown in Sweden currently lead to indirect land use changes, e.g. land clearance in South America or Asia. Despite this, a number of economists have claimed that it could take 50 years for biofuels to repay their impact on the climate, specifically as a result of indirect land use changes.”

Experts mention that each and every type of biofuel has different limitations in production volumes. For preventing negative effects, it’s crucial that accurate suppression of biofuel production is carried out. Fuels like biogas from sugar beet, ley crops, maize and waste products in the form of household waste, industrial waste and manure, biodiesel from rapeseed, ethanol from wheat and sugar beet and ethanol from Brazilian sugar cane were investigated by the scientists. Also co-production of biogas and ethanol from wheat were analyzed during the research.

While conducting the investigations not only greenhouse gases, but also environmental effects like eutrophication, acidification, photochemical ozone, emissions of particles and energy balance was considered. Along with emissions from the use of biofuels in light and heavy vehicles, direct and indirect land use changes were also assessed by the researchers. It was claimed that with development of alternatives to fossil fuels the quantity of sustainable biofuels can be increased.

Forest Fires Seemingly Enhance The Nitrogen Cycle

American-Society-Logo The negative impacts of deforestation are getting noticed internationally. Many countries are undertaking necessary steps to lessen the problem for a more sustainable earth. One approach could be to find an alternative to replace existing wood products. When fire burns down a forest, the nitrate level augments and the effects are tenacious. Experts from the University of Montana highlighted that charcoal accumulated during fire events has great significance to trigger the conversion of ammonia to nitrates which claims to be an essential step in the nitrogen cycle.

Experts identified that a type of bacteria that transforms ammonia into nitrates was found in a large quantity in the latest burned sites. Surprisingly, the recent fire was twelve years before the sampling period. Additionally, the burned sites had larger rates of nitrification. This underlines that nitrogen developed more quickly through the ecosystem than without a fire.

Supposedly, nitrogen is found in limited quantity in coniferous forests soils of the western United States, the place where this study was conducted. The findings highlight a relation between fire, charcoal deposition, nitrification, and abundance of nitrifying organisms in coniferous forests of the inland Northwestern US.

The analysis was conducted on soils from sites that had been exposed twice or three times to fires in the last 94 years. Experts revealed that charcoal seemingly has the ability to enhance nitrate production immediately after the heat pulse and substrate pulse has abated.

Evaluation of the bacterial community highlighted shifts in community structure based on fire history and soil type. This puts forth that these soils are apparently moving towards supporting microbial groups. These groups are mainly found in more productive soils like those in adjacent open mountain meadows.

These findings were presented in the July/August 2010 Journal of Environmental Quality.

Experts Identify Unique Process To Boost Solar Power Production

Stanford Univ LogoInnumerable benefits of solar power as an alternative source of energy have come to light in recent times. A new tidbit gives insight of an innovative process that possibly doubles the productivity of existing solar cell technology. Stanford engineers have apparently developed a novel process known as photon enhanced thermionic emission (PETE) which not only combines the light and heat of solar radiation to generate electricity, but also decreases the cost of solar energy production.

The technology is believed to take solar energy production at the next level, wherein it can give a tough competition to oil as an energy source. Present day photovoltaic technology employed in solar panels seemingly becomes less productive with elevation in temperature. On the other hand, PETE is assumed to increase its efficiency with rise in temperature. If the scientists are to be believed, then the technology could overcome existing photovoltaic and thermal conversion technologies in the near future.

Nick Melosh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, who led the research group remarked, “This is really a conceptual breakthrough, a new energy conversion process, not just a new material or a slightly different tweak. It is actually something fundamentally different about how you can harvest energy.”

The process appears to be affordable because materials required to build a device are inexpensive and easily available. Photovoltaic cells that are put to use in rooftop solar panels employ the semiconducting material silicon for converting energy from photons of light to electricity. The drawback of this process is that the cells may only utilize a section of the light spectrum and the rest just generate heat. This heat supposedly accounts for a loss of more than 50 percent of the initial solar energy reaching the cell.

Investigators identified that simply coating a piece of semiconducting material with a thin layer of the metal cesium can help use both light and heat for the generation of electricity. PETE shows progressive results at higher temperatures, allowing solar concentrators namely parabolic dishes which can get as hot as 800 C to boost the efficiency of this process.

Melosh alleged, “What we’ve demonstrated is a new physical process that is not based on standard photovoltaic mechanisms, but can give you a photovoltaic-like response at very high temperatures. In fact, it works better at higher temperatures. The higher the better.”

Dishes encompassing a thermal conversion mechanism are seemingly used in large solar farms. These dishes also appear to aid PETE in generating electricity at lower costs by connecting with present day technology. It has been claimed that photovoltaic systems by no means waste heat, yet the process working in high temperatures can potentially produce usable high-temperature waste heat.

Melosh added, “The light would come in and hit our PETE device first, where we would take advantage of both the incident light and the heat that it produces, and then we would dump the waste heat to their existing thermal conversion systems. So the PETE process has two really big benefits in energy production over normal technology.”

It has been estimated that PETE can develop twice the efficiency or more under solar concentration. A combination of this novel process and a thermal conversion cycle is affirmed to reach 55 or even 60 percent which is nearly triple the productivity of existing systems. Experts aim to further design devices rendering this process more affordable.

Melosh quoted, “For each device, we are figuring something like a 6-inch wafer of actual material is all that is needed. So the material cost in this is not really an issue for us, unlike the way it is for large solar panels of silicon.”

While conducting the ‘proof of concept’ tests, scientists employed a gallium nitride semiconductor. It was noted that only gallium nitride was able to endure the high temperature range. Experts share that precise semiconductor material such as gallium arsenide can help the process in reaching up to 50 or 60 percent.

Melosh concluded, “The PETE process could really give the feasibility of solar power a big boost. Even if we don’t achieve perfect efficiency, let’s say we give a 10 percent boost to the efficiency of solar conversion, going from 20 percent efficiency to 30 percent, that is still a 50 percent increase overall.”

Allegedly one more merit of the PETE system is that only small quantities of semiconductor material may be required for the device. Further investigations employing other materials are being initiated. The newly developed process can possibly decrease the investment capital required for building a solar farm.

The investigation was published online August 1 in Nature Materials.