Solar Energy

How Hybrid Solar Energy Converter Harness Energy at 85% Efficiency

Clean energy refers to renewable energy sources, which don’t emit any greenhouse gas or other pollutants. They are often known as renewable energy because they are sustainable, and their supplies don’t end. Moreover, there are several types and sources of clean energy, including geothermal, solar, wind, hydropower, and biomass. Furthermore, several high-end devices harvest all these energies. For example, to harvest hydropower energy, dams are built on rivers. The running current of water drives several generators that drive electrical energy in neighboring areas.

Similarly, geothermal powerplant facilitates the creation of thermal energy. It involves creating several wells deep into the earth that pump steams and bring hot water to the surface. The steam drives electricity. Likewise, the most popular form of energy is solar that harvests energy from the sun. Solar panels capture the energy from sunlight and convert it into electrical energy. It can drive electricity in homes and businesses. Furthermore, scientists are developing a new device called the Hybrid Solar Energy Converter. 

What Is Hybrid Solar Energy Converter?

There are two main types of solar energy technologies – Photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP). Solar panels contain PV cells, and they are the most typical method to harness energy from the sun. Solar energy produces electricity using the above technologies. When the sun shines on the solar panel, these PV cells absorb the energy from the sunlight. The energy creates a layer of an electric field, and it powers homes, industries to almost anything. CSP is the second type of technology that uses a mirror to focus on the sun’s light. The receiver collects the light energy and converts it into heat/steam. Furthermore, heat can drive turbines to generate electricity, and it can heat homes, induce electricity in homes or for industrial processes that require heat. Typically, huge powerplants utilize CSP technology. 

These two systems of extracting solar energy are separate. Scientists are trying to make a device that can harness both energies. Hybrid Solar energy converter is in development in many states. However, several unsuccessful attempts were resulting in high cost and low-efficiency levels. Several scientists claim that they have successfully created a Hybrid Solar Energy Converter capable of harnessing both light and heat energy at a commendable efficiency. 

Research for Hybrid Solar Energy Convertor

A team of researchers from Tulane University, San Diego University, and some labs started to research  Hybrid Solar Energy Convertor in 2014. They have created a commendable machine that generates steam and electricity at a low cost and high efficiency. Furthermore, the initial funding was $3.3 million, and now the team says that the device is harnessing at an efficiency of 85.1%. The field testing took place in San Diego, while the prototype creation took place at Tulane University. Moreover, the machine utilizes the best elements of both the PV and CSP technologies, providing ample use of the solar spectrum to generate heat and electricity at a low cost, i.e., 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. 

Benefits and Drawbacks of Hybrid Solar Energy Convertor

There are numerous high-end advantages of using hybrid solar energy. 

  • Firstly, this new system provides continuous power supply. Moreover, some batteries store energy for future use. It means that during a power out, the batteries can work as a backup. Also, solar power is low at night and evenings; this storage supplies during this time. 
  • There is a low maintenance cost for this machine. It doesn’t require fuel as compared to traditional generators. 
  • It harnesses power at high efficiency and low cost. The low cost can provide economies of scale to many industries that utilize heat for their processes, such as the steel industry.

There are as such no clear drawbacks of installing hybrid solar energy converter. However, this machine’s installation cost can be high, and the staff might require training to operate the machine. 

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