by Staff Writers
Washington (UPI) Jun 7, 2012
U.S. researches say they've developed solar cells capable of producing sufficient power underwater to operate electronic sensor systems at depths of 30 feet.
Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, said underwater autonomous systems and sensor platforms are severely limited by the lack of power sources, having to rely on on-shore power, batteries or solar power supplied by an above-water platform.
Attempts to use photovoltaic solar cells have had limited success due to the lack of penetrating sunlight, as most current solar cells are optimized to use the terrestrial solar spectrum, they said.
"Although water absorbs sunlight, the technical challenge is to develop a solar cell that can efficiently convert these underwater photons to electricity," Phillip Jenkins of the NRL Imagers and Detectors Section said.
The filtered spectrum of the sun underwater is biased toward the blue/green portion of the spectrum, researchers said, requiring solar cells well matched to the wavelength range.
Using high-quality gallium indium phosphide cells, researchers said they've managed outputs of 7 watts per square meter, sufficient to harvest useful solar power at depths commonly found in nearshore zones.
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Renewable energy costs falling: agency
Abu Dhabi (AFP) June 6, 2012
Power from renewable energy sources is getting cheaper every year, according to a study released Wednesday, challenging long-standing myths that clean energy technology is too expensive to adopt. According to the study by the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency, the costs associated with extracting power from solar panels has fallen as much as 60 percent in just the past fe ... read more
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