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They develop nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient

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They develop nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient

A group of Argentine scientists have developed photothermal nanomaterials that can be used to increase the efficiency of solar panels.

A group of Argentine scientists have developed nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient, which could translate into lower costs.

Those responsible for this finding have been researchers from the Nanomaterials Characterization Laboratory of the NOA Physics Institute, an entity dependent on the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET) and the National University of Tucumán, in Argentina.

The Argentine team has developed photothermal nanomaterials that can be used to increase the efficiency of solar panels and that, as explained by the director of the laboratory, Patricio Alastuey to Radio La Plata, will improve the performance of all kinds of devices that work with solar energy.

They develop nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient

Nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient

Although these nanomaterials are composed of elements that are already known, the difference with respect to the rest, according to Alastuey, is that they are less than 100 nanometers in at least one of their dimensions, such as the thickness of a sheet. .

The fact that a dimension can be measured in less than 100 millionths of a meter allows us to begin to see new properties in materials, explains the director of the Argentine laboratory.

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The positive thing about this method is that totally different properties are achieved from the materials we already know, even though they are the same compound.

“We use nanotubes to take advantage of their thermal absorption properties and improve the efficiency of solar panels,” explained Alastuey.

Those carbon nanotubes are placed on a platinum sheet. With this it is achieved that the solar cells have a much higher efficiency, of more than 90%, thanks to the fact that the nanotubes absorb light very well and transmit heat.

Benefits of this method

Nanomaterials that allow solar panels to be more efficient

By increasing the efficiency of the photothermal panels, they can be given multiple uses, such as “in solar water heaters, in domestic water heating,” says the Director of the laboratory belonging to the Physics Institute of NOA. “Currently they are being used worldwide and also in Argentina.”

That is, with the same design, efficiency is improved, which means that, with the same size of solar panel, a greater amount of water can be heated or in less time, or the size of the panel can be reduced to heat the same.

Some solar panels manufactured in Europe achieve an efficiency of 29.6%

On the other hand, improving the efficiency of solar panels through nanomaterials on a large scale would make it possible to considerably lower costs.

“So far, we have managed to verify that this method works and has a very good efficiency of more than 90%%, which is very high. Now, what follows is to seek to reduce the cost of that design in order to be able to mass-produce it”, concluded Alastuey.

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