Scientists at the California Institute of Technology have developed a new type of solar cell that comprise of arrays of thin silicon wires embedded in polymer substrate. The unique optical interactions between these wires provide the cells with an enhanced light absorption capability and improved internal quantum efficiency over conventional solar cells. These new cells are much cheaper to produce on account of the very low amounts of silicon needed to build them. The superior structural flexibility possessed by the silicon wire array solar cells is expected to further reduce their production cost since they can be produced using a lower-cost process.
The Department of Energy is awarding $47 million to support the development of new technologies and knowhow aimed at improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communication technology sectors. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 14 projects across the country will share in this award. Information technology and telecommunications are vital and rapidly growing sectors of our overall economy and will become even more central as the smart grid is deployed. As our country increasingly comes to rely on an information economy in sector after sector the underlying physical infrastructure that supports it, such as the data centers, networks, routers and so forth, is expected to continue to rapidly grow.
The White House announced that the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science will invest $777 million in Energy Frontier Research Centers (EFRCs) over the next five years. In a national effort to accelerate scientific advances in critical areas of the new energy economy the United States Department of Energy (DOE) will establish 46 new multi-million dollar Energy Frontier Research Centers (or EFRCs) across the nation.
CleanTech Los Angeles is a multi-agency collaboration between CRA/LA, Caltech, DWP, JPL, Mayor’s Office, Port UCLA, and USC to establish Los Angeles as the global leader in research, commercialization, and deployment of clean technologies. It brings together groups like the city’s power and water utility, the chamber of commerce, and the universally recognized scientific research heavyweights UCLA, USC and CalTech with the aim to help LA region become a global center of green technology, green jobs and green manufacturing, officials explained. The ultimate goal is a lofty one: to become the global capital of clean technology.