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Solar Cell Performance Improves With Ion-Conducting Polymer

September 3, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

A dye-sensitized solar cell panel is tested in the laboratory at the School of Chemical Science and Engineering. Dye-sensitized solar photovoltaics can be greatly improved as a result of research done at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. (Credit: David Callahan) Courtesy of KTH

A dye-sensitized solar cell panel is tested in the laboratory at the School of Chemical Science and Engineering. Dye-sensitized solar photovoltaics can be greatly improved as a result of research done at KTH Royal Institute of Technology. (Credit: David Callahan)
Courtesy of KTH

Sep. 3, 2013 — Researchers at Stockholm’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology have found a way to make dye-sensitized solar cells more energy-efficient and longer-lasting.

Drawing their inspiration from photosynthesis, dye-sensitized solar cells offer the promise of low-cost solar photovoltaics and — when coupled with catalysts — even the possibility of generating hydrogen and oxygen, just like plants. A study published in August could lead to more efficient and longer-lasting dye-sensitized solar cells, says one of the researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

A research team that included James Gardner, Assistant Professor of Photoelectrochemistry at KTH, reported the success of a new quasi-liquid, polymer-based electrolyte that increases a dye-sensitized solar cell’s voltage and current, and lowers resistance between its electrodes.

The study highlights the advantages of speeding up the movement of oxidized electrolytes in a dye-sensitized solar cell, or DSSC. Also on the team from KTH were Lars Kloo, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry and researcher Muthuraaman Bhagavathi Achari.

Their research was published in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics on August 19.

“We now have clear evidence that by adding the ion-conducting polymer to the solar cell’s cobalt redox electrolyte, the transport of oxidized electrolytes is greatly enhanced,” Gardner says. “The fast transport increases solar cell efficiency by 20 percent.”

A dye-sensitized solar cell absorbs photons and injects electrons into the conduction band of a transparent semiconductor. This anode is actually a plate with a highly porous, thin layer of titanium dioxide that is sensitized with dyes that absorb visible light. The electrons in the semiconductor diffuse through the anode, out into the external circuit.

In the electrolyte, a cobalt complex redox shuttle acts as a catalyst, providing the internal electrical continuity between the anode and cathode. When the dye releases electrons and becomes oxidized by the titanium dioxide, the electrolyte supplies electrons to replenish the deficiency. This “resets” the dye molecules, reducing them back to their original states. As a result, the electrolyte becomes oxidized and electron-deficient and migrates toward the cathode to recovers its missing electrons. Electrons migrating through the circuit recombine with the oxidized form of the cobalt complex when they reach the cathode.

In the most efficient solar cells this transport of ions relies on acetonitrile, a low viscosity, volatile organic solvent. But in order to build a stable, commercially-viable solar cell, a low volatility solvent is used instead, usually methoxypropionitrile. The problem is that while methoxypropionitrile is more stable, it is also more viscous than acetonitrile, and it impedes the flow of ions.

But with the introduction of a new quasi-liquid, polymer-based electrolyte (containing the Co3+/Co2+ redox mediator in 3-methoxy propionitrile solvent), the research team has overcome the viscosity problem, Gardner says. At the same time, adding the ion-conducting polymer to the electrolyte maintains its low volatility. This makes it possible for the oxidized form of the cobalt complex to reach the cathode, and get reduced, faster.

Speeding up this transport is important because when slowed down, more of the cobalt complexes react with electrons in the semiconductor anode instead of with the electrons at the cathode, resulting in rapid recombination losses. Speeding up the cobalt lowers resistance and increases voltage and current in the solar cell, Gardner says.

This article is a repost, credit: KTH Royal Institute of Technology,

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President Barack Obama to visit KTH Royal Institute of Technology

September 3, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Photo: Pete Souza Courtesy of the White House

Photo: Pete Souza
Courtesy of the White House

U.S. President Barack Obama is coming to KTH Royal Institute of Technology on Sept. 4. He will be joined by Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, to meet with KTH’s rektor and get a taste of KTH’s research in renewable energy.

When Barack Obama arrives in Sweden on Wednesday for the first time, it will also mark the first bilateral visit for a U.S. president in Sweden.

The visit is expected to last about one half hour on Wednesday afternoon, amid an otherwise extremely tight schedule. The President has expressed interest in areas of renewable energy research that KTH’s School of Chemical Science is involved in, such as fuel cells and solar cells.

Articles about President Barack Obama’s visit

  • Why Obama is visiting KTH
  • Welcome to KTH, Obama!

This article is a repost, credit: KTH Royal Institute of Technology,

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Hi-Power Cycles Releases Revolutionary New Folding Solar Panels that Makes Solar Powered Commuting a Reality

August 31, 2013 in Electric Bike, Electric Vehicles, EV charging, EV News, Solar

Antonio Contreras and his Solar Powered HPC HT-1 Electric Bike. Photo courtesy of Hi-Power Cycles

Antonio Contreras and his Solar Powered HPC HT-1 Electric Bike.
Photo courtesy of Hi-Power Cycles

Hi-Power Cycles releases revolutionary new 120-300 watt portable solar panels that will allow consumers the freedom to ride their electric bikes anywhere by virtue of the sun.

Chatsworth, CA (PRWEB) August 30, 2013

Hi-Power Cycles employee Antonio Contreras commutes to work 30 miles round trip each day powered directly by the sun’s energy. His solar powered electric bike allows for viable and sustainable energy usage and freedom from reliance on fossil fuels. Thanks to Hi-Power Cycles and their brand new solar charging systems, Antonio is able to commute to work and back without costing him one cent.

Harnessing the power of the sun is now easier than ever, thanks to Hi-Power Cycles and their brand new portable, folding solar systems that are capable of charging large scale electrical equipment. Antonio claims he is now saving about $3500 a year which more than pays for his bike with zero reliance on the energy grid.

Armed with the world’s most efficient (24%) commercially available solar cells, Hi-Power Cycles has incorporated them into a lightweight, waterproof, foldable nylon charging system. This system is now able to output up to 300W and is able to charge any DC battery system.  For his purposes, Antonio uses the 300W folding panel to charge his 650Watt-hour 52V Lithium Nickel Manganese Cobalt Battery system from his electric bicycle in a little over 2 hours. He says his solar charge is even faster than the standard 120V wall charger that originally came with his bike.

The 300W panel itself weighs about 17 lbs and can stow in a backpack. Antonio says Hi-Power Cycles also offers other panels ranging in size from 60W all the way to 300W. With their custom charge controllers, Antonio says the nominal 24V panels can charge anything from a 12V DC car battery all the way through a specialized 90V lithium battery as the output voltage can be dialed in exactly as the customer wishes.

Aside from the monetary savings, Antonio says that his favorite part of the commute is when he actually arrives at the office refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to start the day. “This is in stark contrast to when I used to ride a normal pedal bike to work. Not only did it take 2-3 longer, but when I arrived I immediately proceeded to the restroom to wash the sweat off and put on a change of clothes. I am forever grateful that aspect of my life is now over and done with.”

Another exciting aspect of going solar: “I don’t have to worry about peak times or charging during off-peak hours to get the cheapest rates from the power companies. In fact, I answer to my own power company now- the sun. It is such a thrill to develop all of this energy for free just by placing the panel out in the sun for a few hours. I can get a maximum of 35 miles of electric only range at about 18 mph out of my bike from just one solar charge.” For most commuters, this is more than enough, especially in cities congested with traffic. In fact, the national average for a two way commute for the average American is 32 miles. So, the 2000W electric bike or conversion kit from Hi-Power Cycles will cover the average American’s commute to work- all powered by the sun.

Hi-Power Cycles plans to expand production of their folding solar panels to meet the extreme demand from both consumers and dealers alike. Chris Hunt, founder of Hi-Power Cycles said, “We are extremely proud to pioneer the manufacture of these high powered folding solar panels that not only serve recreational users, but have industrial applications as well. The possibilities are endless with these panels, and we are excited to continue seeking the most efficient and well designed solar cells in the world.”

This article is a repost, credit: Hi-Power Cycles,

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AeroVironment Solar-Powered Puma AE Small Unmanned Aircraft Achieves Continuous Flight for More Than Nine Hours

August 13, 2013 in Electric Plane, Electric Vehicles, EV News

  • Groundbreaking development in the evolution of small unmanned aircraft systems; advanced solar cells increase hand-launched Puma AE™ endurance by 350 percent
  • Far-reaching implications for small UAS utility in military, public safety and commercial uses
  • Alta Devices cutting-edge mobile power technology produces ample power with minimal added weight
Puma AE Photo courtesy of AeroVironment

Puma AE
Photo courtesy of AeroVironment

WASHINGTON, At AUVSI, Aug. 12, 2013 – AeroVironment, Inc. (NASDAQ:AVAV) today announced that a recent outdoor test flight of a solar-powered prototype version of the company’s proven Puma AE™ small unmanned aircraft system (UAS), operating with the company’s newest long-endurance battery, lasted 9 hours, 11 minutes – significantly longer than the flight endurance of small UAS being used in the field today.

AeroVironment is working with Alta Devices, a Sunnyvale, Calif. company that provides flexible, portable power that can be embedded into any other material, in the development of the solar Puma AE.

“This is a critical milestone with far-reaching implications for the many ways small UAS can benefit military, public safety and commercial customers,” said Roy Minson, AeroVironment senior vice president and general manager, Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). “The solar Puma AE is the latest example of AeroVironment’s longstanding commitment to deliver important, innovative solutions that meet our customers’ needs.

“Our integration of this cutting-edge technology dramatically increases Puma’s current flight endurance using a clean, renewable power source,” Minson added, “this development can give Puma AE customers significantly increased capabilities that approach those of the next class of UAS at a much lower acquisition and operating cost, and with much greater operational flexibility.” AeroVironment’s new long endurance battery extends Puma AE’s non-solar endurance to more than three hours. This means small UAS could be used for longer missions over greater distances than previously possible.

Minson added that past solar solutions for powering small UAS were either too heavy or did not produce enough power for long-range flight – or both. “However,” he said, “the solar Puma AE technology can produce enough power, while adding negligible weight, so that endurance is no longer an issue for most customer missions.”

Using a proprietary and highly differentiated technology, Alta Devices manufactures the world’s thinnest and highest efficiency solar cells using Gallium Arsenide. This technology significantly extends the battery life of any application, in many cases eliminating the need to recharge from the grid because it converts more light into electricity. Solar material like that used in the development of the solar Puma AE incorporates a thin, mobile power technology on a flexible substrate that has been independently certified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as world-records for both single (28.8%) and dual (30.8%) junction solar cells.

Puma AE is a flexible, efficient and rugged hand-launched workhorse for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR). This solar-power enhancement makes it even more indispensible for U.S. and allied military, as well as for domestic public safety applications, such as firefighting, law enforcement, search and rescue, oil and gas field monitoring, and other commercial needs.

The solar Puma AE configuration currently is in the research and development phase. A production version is planned for early 2014.

The 13-pound Puma AE is fully waterproof, man-portable and can be assembled in minutes, hand-launched, operated and recovered on sea or land by a team of two people. It requires no infrastructure, such as runways, launching pads or recovery devices. In addition, the system is quiet and operates autonomously, providing persistent observation data.

Last month, AeroVironment received a “Restricted Category” rating for its Puma AE small UAS from the Federal Aviation Administration. The first-of-its-kind certificate permits operators to fly Puma AE for commercial missions in regions of the Arctic.

About AeroVironment’s Family of Small UAS

RQ-11B Raven®, RQ-12 Wasp AE™, RQ-20A Puma™ and Shrike VTOL™ comprise AeroVironment’s Family of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems. Operating with a common ground control system (GCS), this Family of Systems provides increased capability to the warfighter that can give ground commanders the option of selecting the appropriate aircraft based on the type of mission to be performed. This increased capability has the potential to provide significant force protection and force multiplication benefits to small tactical units and security personnel.  AeroVironment provides logistics services worldwide to ensure a consistently high level of operational readiness and provides mission services for customers requiring only the information its small UAS produce.  AeroVironment has delivered thousands of new and replacement small unmanned air vehicles to customers within the United States and to more than twenty international governments. The Qube™ small UAS is tailored to search and rescue, first response, law enforcement and other public safety missions.  Small enough to fit easily in the trunk of a car, the Qube system can be unpacked, assembled and ready for flight in less than five minutes, giving the operator a rapidly deployable eye in the sky at a fraction of the cost of manned aircraft and large unmanned aircraft.

About AeroVironment

AeroVironment is a technology solutions provider that designs, develops, produces, operates and supports an advanced portfolio of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and electric transportation solutions.  Agencies of the U.S. Department of Defense and allied military services use the company’s electric-powered, hand-launched unmanned aircraft systems extensively to provide situational awareness to tactical operating units through real-time, airborne reconnaissance, surveillance and communication.  Multiple government agencies have helped to fund the development and demonstration of Global Observer®, a hybrid-electric, stratospheric UAS designed to provide affordable, persistent reconnaissance and communication over any location on the globe.  Switchblade™ is a tactical missile system designed to provide a rapid, lethal, pinpoint precision strike capability with minimal collateral damage.  AeroVironment’s electric transportation solutions include a comprehensive suite of electric vehicle (EV) charging systems, installation and data services for consumers, automakers, utilities and government agencies, power cycling and test systems for EV developers and industrial electric vehicle charging systems for commercial fleets.  More information about AeroVironment is available at

About Alta Devices

Alta Devices is (EM)POWERING THE UNPLUGGED WORLD™ by delivering the world’s most efficient, thin and flexible mobile power technology. Converting light into electricity, Alta’s technology extends the energy source of a system, and in many cases, completely cuts the traditional power cord. The solution can be completely integrated into the final system, and is ideal for use in unmanned systems, consumer electronics, automotive, remote exploration, or anywhere size, weight, and mobility matter. Alta Devices holds world records for energy conversion efficiency, and has received funding from, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, August Capital, Crosslink Capital, AIMCo, GE, Dow, and others. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA. For more information, visit

Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release may constitute “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of current expectations, forecasts and assumptions that involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, economic, competitive, governmental and technological factors outside of our control, that may cause our business, strategy or actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our ability to perform under existing contracts and obtain additional contracts; changes in the regulatory environment; the activities of competitors; failure of the markets in which we operate to grow; failure to expand into new markets; failure to develop new products or integrate new technology with current products; and general economic and business conditions in the United States and elsewhere in the world. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not intend, and undertake no obligation, to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This article is a repost, credit: AeroVironment,

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Kick-starting Europe’s electric vehicle industry

August 3, 2013 in Electric Vehicles, EV News

Secretary of State John Kerry greets Ambassador to the European Union William E. Kennard as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Howard Gutman and his wife look on in Brussels, Belgium, April 22, 2013. Photo courtesy of State Department

Secretary of State John Kerry greets Ambassador to the European Union William E. Kennard as U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium Howard Gutman and his wife look on in Brussels, Belgium, April 22, 2013.
Photo courtesy of State Department

Electric vehicles (e-vehicles, or EVs) are set to play a key role in the future of urban mobility, reducing pollution, decreasing dependence on fossil fuels and saving drivers money. Although e-vehicles make up only a tiny fraction of the European car fleet at present, sales are expected to grow exponentially over the coming years, thanks, in no small measure, to advances in e-vehicle technology being made by EU-funded researchers. Fully electric vehicle technologies that optimise safety, energy consumption and kinetic energy recovery are also major contributors to on-going improvements in the performance of hybrid vehicles.

Across the European Union transport accounts for more than 70% of total oil consumption, the vast majority of which is imported from abroad. With more than one million additional cars going onto Europe’s roads every 50 days, fuel consumption, congestion and pollution will only continue to increase if the internal combustion engine remains the main source of automotive power. Hence, the EU, national governments and private companies are spending billions on supporting the development of e-vehicles.

‘Rather than offering forms of mobility based on ever-increasing energy prices, the industry is now faced with satisfying a rational demand for mobility: clean, safe and low-energy-consumption vehicles, requiring less energy to be produced, and using recyclable and eventually self-disposable materials,’ says Dr Pietro Perlo, the CEO of Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles (IFEVS), an Italian SME dedicated to e-vehicle development.

Photo courtesy of P-MOB EU project

Photo courtesy of P-MOB EU project

Dr Perlo helped oversee the development of ground-breaking e-vehicle technology in the ‘Integrated enabling technologies for efficient electrical personal mobility’ (P-MOB) project, supported by almost EUR 2.8 million in funding from the European Commission. Involving researchers from six companies (Siemens from Germany; Mazel from Spain; IFEVS, Polimodel and Fiat from Italy; and Magnomatics from the United Kingdom), as well as the University of Sheffield in the UK, the project resulted in the development of a novel prototype electric car with a range of up to 20 kilometres (km) powered by solar power alone.

Coordinated by Centro Ricerche Fiat in Turin, Italy, the team behind P-MOB sought to break the link between increasing transport capacity and rising road deaths, congestion and pollution by developing an e-vehicle prototype that is not only clean, but extremely safe and compact. To do so, the researchers took a novel approach to advanced systems integration focusing, among other things, on solar cells, e-motor and magnetic torque control, power-energy management, distributed accumulators and technologies to enable e-vehicles to put power back into the grid when not in use.

Presentation link:

‘The design has met the highest safety ranking, a low footprint and extremely low energy consumption, making the vehicle ideal for most people’s needs in cities as well as suburban roads,’ Dr Perlo notes.

The prototype is a small compact vehicle – weighting less than 600 kilogrammes (kg) before the installation of the battery pack, and with a top speed of over 100 km/h – which meets new regulations on ‘micro’ electric vehicles. It is also able to meet the classical regulations for vehicle categories such as M1 (a car with eight passenger seats or fewer).

Aerodynamic, safe and solar-powered

Photo courtesy of P-MOB EU project

Photo courtesy of P-MOB EU project

A parallel project called ‘Building blocks concepts for efficient and safe multiuse urban electrical vehicles’ (WIDE-MOB), also involving the P-MOB partners, helped address the design and development of the basic building blocks of electric vehicles. The WIDE-MOB team worked on optimised aerodynamics to radically reduce the drag at any speed and lightweight and low-cost bodies designed for high safety in the event of a frontal or lateral crash, as well as a variety of technologies for distributed propulsion.

‘Our vehicle is the first with a two-motor powertrain with one motor per axle. We have two doors on one side only ensuring a high degree of safety, better ergonomics and reduced complexity with extremely low aerodynamic drag: around 30 % lower than other vehicles of the same dimensions,’ Dr Perlo explains. ‘All the technologies were developed during the course of the project by the partners. Only the battery cells were produced outside Europe, though the design came from within the project.’

The project’s integrated ICT-based control systems allow for the operation of two motors and two differentials – so the vehicle’s front and rear axles are independent, providing effective four-wheel drive – as well as variation of the torque ratio, depending on driving conditions, which provides a variety of important benefits. It increases vehicle control on small radius curves, improves adherence on wet and icy roads, provides the impression of faster acceleration without drawing more power and allows for fail-safe operation: if one motor fails the other will always allow you to return home. Most significantly, this in turn ensures that a single motor failure will not cause loss of control of the vehicle, particularly at high speeds.

In addition, the use of two motors combined with ICT-based smart energy management enables higher efficiency, because the two motors can individually be operated at peak performance in all driving conditions, while maximising energy recovery during braking through distributed braking on two axles combined with virtual ‘anti-lock braking system’ (ABS) control.

Meanwhile, smart photovoltaic panels with smart diodes and self-adapting electronics minimise loss of energy generation due to shadows or a single malfunctioning cell. Like most electric vehicles, the P-MOB prototype can be charged directly from the electricity grid. The addition of flexible high-efficiency mono-crystalline silicon solar-cell technology, however, means that it can also be powered by the sun alone and can even sell back power to the electricity grid once its batteries are full.

In trials at Fiat’s testing track in Turin, the vehicle was able to travel 20 km powered solely by its solar cells – more than enough for the average European daily commuter, especially in sunnier southern Europe.

‘The vehicle’s performance met our expectations for the design: it showed very high stability on small radius curves and had an average energy consumption of around 80 Watt-hours per kilometre,’ Dr Perlo says. ‘We presented it to the public at events in Turin, Athens and Brussels and received very positive feedback.’

The prototype was designed using the first variable design platform for micro electric vehicles, also created within the P-MOB and WIDE-MOB projects, and now set to continue its evolution within the EU-MOBY R&D platform, supported by the European Commission.

‘The idea of having a vehicle that with minor additions could meet both the homologation of micro electric vehicles and the classical M1 world is new and is enabling novel business approaches. All these concepts have been patented,’ Dr Perlo notes.

However, he points out that batteries are at the heart of electrical vehicles and Europe’s lack of a strong battery industry remains a challenge to home-grown technology. ‘No doubt a new level of pan-European industrial organisation is needed to specifically address the manufacture of batteries because this will put the overall road transport industry in trouble in the next few years,’ he says.

Nonetheless, electric vehicle sales in Europe are expected to increase apace, rising from 45,000 this year to 400,000 in 2015, representing around 3.5 % of new passenger car registrations. As technology improves, prices will also drop, with a small to mid-sized electric passenger car with a range of 250 km on a single charge predicted to cost EUR 15,000 within four years, down from EUR 20,000 at present.

Another incentive to switch to electric is likely to come from EU plans to progressively reduce overall passenger car fleet CO2 emissions over the coming years.

‘This will likely induce a deep change in the personal mobility offer: the conventional passenger car price will increase due to the technology to achieve the CO2 emission threshold while electric vehicles will fall in cost thanks to the optimisation of the manufacturing process and increasing sales,’ Dr Perlo predicts. ‘There will be a new equilibrium in the market and there will be room for new vehicle concepts such as the one developed in P-MOB.’

P-MOB received research funding under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

Link to project’s website: 
‘Integrated enabling technologies for efficient electrical personal mobility’ project website

This article is a repost, credit: Dr Pietro Perlo,

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Solar Impulse Successfully Lands in New York City and Sets Historic First

July 6, 2013 in Electric Plane, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Prototype Plane Completes Across America Mission Powered Only by Solar Energy

Solar Impulse, solar airplane Photo courtesy of Solar Impulse, copyright Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse, solar airplane
Photo courtesy of Solar Impulse, copyright Solar Impulse

NEW YORK CITY, USA, July 6, 2013 – Solar Impulse – the solar-powered airplane of Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg – has successfully landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport setting a new milestone in the history of aviation: for the first time a plane capable of flying day and night powered exclusively by solar energy has crossed the USA from the West to the East Coasts without using a single drop of fuel.

André Borschberg, Solar Impulse Co-founder and CEO, landed Solar Impulse at JFK on Sunday, July 6 at 11:09 p.m. EDT, 3 hours earlier than planned because of a rip in the fabric on the lower side of the left wing. The flight took 18h 23min with a departure from Washington Dulles at 04:46 a.m. EDT on Saturday.

“This last leg was especially difficult due to the damage of the fabric on the left wing. It obliged the team to envisage all the possible scenarios, including bailing out over the Atlantic. But this type of problem is inherent to every experimental endeavor. In the end, this didn’t prevent us from succeeding in our Across America mission and provided an invaluable learning experience in preparation for the round-the-world tour in 2015,” said André Borschberg shortly after landing, adding “we extend our gratitude to all airport and government authorities whose precious support made this mission possible.”

The arrival of Solar Impulse in New York City marks the culmination of its ambitious journey Across America, which started on May 3rd in San Francisco, California. The journey took a total of 105h 41min and 3511 miles flown at an average speed of 28.8 kt. Before reaching New York, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg alternately flew Solar Impulse to Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Washington D.C. The plane stopped over in each of these cities giving the opportunity to the team to organize public viewings and political meetings with high level representatives such as Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, to promote clean technologies, energy efficiency and renewable energies.

“Flying coast-to-coast has always been a mythical milestone full of challenges for aviation pioneers. During this journey, we had to find solutions for a lot of unforeseen situations, which obliged us to develop new skills and strategies. In doing so, we also pushed the boundaries of clean technologies and renewable energies to unprecedented levels,” said Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Solar Impulse Initiator, Chairman and pilot.

Solar Impulse New York City Schedule

  • News conference and Flying Laboratory event with Solar Impulse mission partners on Monday, July 8 at noon at John F. Kennedy International Airport: Under the slogan “Cleantechs are profitable”, Solar Impulse will hold a press conference and event axed on presenting the technological contributions from Solar Impulse partners.
  • Run of show:

Remarks by:

  • Port Authority Representative
  • Solar Impulse pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg
  • Solar Impulse partners: Solvay, Schindler, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Bayer Material Science, Sunpower and the Swiss Government

Q&A opportunity

  • Visit and photo opportunities around the airplane
  • Interview opportunities with pilots
  • Nasdaq Opening Bell Ceremony: On Tuesday, July 9 at 9:30 a.m. Solar Impulse pilots and co-founders, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, will visit the NASDAQ MarketSite in Times Square and ring the Opening Bell. Media are welcome to attend the event at NASDAQ MarketSite, 4 Times Square, 43rd & Broadway, Broadcast Studio from 09:15 to 09:30 a.m. Interviews can be organized from 9:30 until 11:00 a.m.
  • UN presentation: On Tuesday, July 9 at 4 p.m. Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will speak at Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber in presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Ambassador of Switzerland to the United Nations Paul Seger. Media are welcome to attend the presentation: If you do not hold a UN badge, please RSVP to [email protected] indicating full name, media outlet, nationality, date of birth. Please bring along a valid form of ID.

Solar Impulse Open House – Public Visits will be organized at the Solar Impulse hangar at JFK on:

  • Saturday, July 13 from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 14 from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Several private Solar Impulse partners events throughout the week July 8 – 15 at JFK

The Solar Impulse Across America mission is made in partnership with Solvay, Schindler, Bayer Material Science, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Sunpower and the Swiss Confederation.

Flight Report: Washington Dulles International Airport – New York John F. Kennedy International Airport Pilot: André Borschberg, Co-founder and CEO

  • Take -off time: July 6, 2013 04:46 AM EDT (UTC-4)
  • Time of landing: July 6, 2013 11:09 PM EDT (UTC-4)
  • Flight duration: 18h 23min
  • Average ground speed: 27km/h (15 kts)
  • Highest altitude reached: 3110 m (10 200 ft)
  • Flight Distance: 495 km (~267 NM)
  • The “Across America” mission at a glance:
  • 03 May 2013: First leg San Francisco/Moffett Airfield – Phoenix/Sky Harbor
  • Pilot: Bertrand Piccard, Initiator and Chairman
  • 22 May 2013: Second leg Phoenix/Sky Harbor – Dallas/Fort Worth
  • Pilot: André Borschberg, Co-Founder and CEO
  • 03 June 2013: Third leg Dallas/Fort Worth – St. Louis/Lambert Airport

About Solar Impulse

Swiss pioneers Dr Bertrand Piccard (Chairman) and André Borschberg (CEO) are the founders, pilots and the driving force behind Solar Impulse, the first airplane that can fly day and night without fuel. Solar Impulse is a unique adventure that aims to bring emotions back at the heart of scientific exploration, a flying laboratory to find innovative technological solutions for today’s challenges and a vision to inspire each of us to be pioneers in our everyday lives.

This revolutionary carbon fibre airplane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747 (63.4m / 208 ft) and the weight of a small car (1,600kg / 3,527 lb). It is the result of seven years of intense work, calculations, simulations and tests by a team of about 80 people and 100 partners and advisors. A plane so big and light has never been built before. The 12,000 solar cells built into the wing provide four 10HP electric motors with renewable energy. By day the solar cells recharge the 400kg / 881 lb lithium batteries which allow the plane to fly at night.

This article is a repost, credit: Solar Impulse,

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Antifreeze, Cheap Materials May Lead to Low-Cost Solar Energy

July 6, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Solar cell nanoparticles. (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

Solar cell nanoparticles (Credit: Image courtesy of Oregon State University)

A process combining some comparatively cheap materials and the same antifreeze that keeps an automobile radiator from freezing in cold weather may be the key to making solar cells that cost less and avoid toxic compounds, while further expanding the use of solar energy.

And when perfected, this approach might also cook up the solar cells in a microwave oven similar to the one in most kitchens.

Engineers at Oregon State University have determined that ethylene glycol, commonly used in antifreeze products, can be a low-cost solvent that functions well in a “continuous flow” reactor — an approach to making thin-film solar cells that is easily scaled up for mass production at industrial levels.

The research, just published in Material Letters, a professional journal, also concluded this approach will work with CZTS, or copper zinc tin sulfide, a compound of significant interest for solar cells due to its excellent optical properties and the fact these materials are cheap and environmentally benign.

“The global use of solar energy may be held back if the materials we use to produce solar cells are too expensive or require the use of toxic chemicals in production,” said Greg Herman, an associate professor in the OSU School of Chemical, Biological and Environmental Engineering. “We need technologies that use abundant, inexpensive materials, preferably ones that can be mined in the U.S. This process offers that.”

By contrast, many solar cells today are made with CIGS, or copper indium gallium diselenide. Indium is comparatively rare and costly, and mostly produced in China. Last year, the prices of indium and gallium used in CIGS solar cells were about 275 times higher than the zinc used in CZTS cells.

The technology being developed at OSU uses ethylene glycol in meso-fluidic reactors that can offer precise control of temperature, reaction time, and mass transport to yield better crystalline quality and high uniformity of the nanoparticles that comprise the solar cell — all factors which improve quality control and performance.

This approach is also faster — many companies still use “batch mode” synthesis to produce CIGS nanoparticles, a process that can ultimately take up to a full day, compared to about half an hour with a continuous flow reactor. The additional speed of such reactors will further reduce final costs.

“For large-scale industrial production, all of these factors — cost of materials, speed, quality control — can translate into money,” Herman said. “The approach we’re using should provide high-quality solar cells at a lower cost.”

The performance of CZTS cells right now is lower than that of CIGS, researchers say, but with further research on the use of dopants and additional optimization it should be possible to create solar cell efficiency that is comparable.

This project is one result of work through the Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry, a collaborative effort of OSU and five other academic institutions, supported by the National Science Foundation. Funding was provided by Sharp Laboratories of America. The goal is to develop materials and products that are safe, affordable and avoid the use of toxic chemicals or expensive compounds.

This article is a repost, credit: Oregon State University,  (Press release date 7-4-2013)