Catching the sun with new technology
A new technology that can significantly increase electricity and heat production from solar radiation is under development in the lab of Ilia Katardjiev, Professof of Solid State Electronics at the Department of Electrical Engineering, Uppsala University.
It involves a new design principle to effectively concentrate both diffuse sunlight and direct solar radiation, thereby enabling a significantly higher solar cell utilisation rate than with the technologies available today. Through industry collaboration, the new technology has been experimentally demonstrated and evaluated.
– The sun is the largest renewable and unlimited source of energy. Today´s solar cells have an efficiency in the order of ten to fifteen percent. Thus, the major part of the energy is lost to the environment. I am developing a sunlight concentrator capable of utilizing this remaining energy in form of heat with an efficiency exceeding 70 percent.
The transition to a fossil-free energy system, in Sweden and globally, is one of the great challenges of our time. For a successful transition to a sustainable energy system, there must be comprehensive research on, first, technology and, second, the behaviour and circumstances of electricity users. At Uppsala University, a lot of research is going on in this area.