Music narrator The sun provides a clean renewable source of energy. But electricity is expensive to produce using solar cells compared to nuclear energy or power from fossil fuels. Research at the University of NebraskaLincoln focuses on a solution. Huang The goal of this project is to make a more efficient and cheaper solar cells. UNL engineer Jinsong Huang earned a National Science Foundation Career Award to advance his research into solar energy devices. Huang wants to replace the silicon material used in today's solar cells with polymers or plastics. narrator Huang and his colleagues have designed a new structure that includes a thin layer of ferro electric.
Polymer, a material often used in insulation. Combined with organic polymers and electrodes, the device would generate more electricity at a lower cost. When this labsized device is perfected, it could be produced on a large scale. narrator If Huang can improve the efficiency of the polymer solar cell, the new device could replace the large solar panes atop buildings. And because polymers are flexible, future solar cells could also be pasted on a window or incorporated in fabric to provide a charge for your laptop or warmth on a camping trip.
New solar power plant opens at Lincoln community
EDIE A MULTIMILLION DOLLAR PROJECT IS HELPING A LINK AN ADULT COMMUNITY LIVE UP TO ITS NAME. SUN CITY LINCOLN HEALTH CUT THE RIBBON ON HIS BRANDNEW SOLAR POWER PLANT THIS MORNING. ALONG WITH PROVIDING CHARGING STATIONS FOR ELECTRIC CARS, IT WILL POWER THE LODGE AND HELP THE COMMUNITY SAVE $300,000 PER YEAR IN COSTS IN ELECTRICITY COSTS. IT GIVES US A SHADE STRUCTURE DURING THE OTHER MONTHS SUMMER MONTHS. EDIE THE PROJECT IS EXPECTED TO SAVE $8 MILLION OVER THE NEXT 25 YEARS. IT IS THE FIRST PROJECT.
Putting Graphene to the Test
Graphite is a layered material made of carbon. A single layer of graphite is graphene, and a narrow strip of the material is a graphene nanoribbon. But in the lab of University of NebraskaLincoln chemist Alexander Sinitskii, a graphene nanoribbon begins with a single molecule. So instead of starting with a large sheet of graphene and shrinking it into a narrow ribbon, we actually start with even smaller building blocks, single molecules, and we assemble them to make those ribbons. Building the nanoribbons on the atomic scale allows Sinitskii to manipulate them.
And study their properties. For example, one thing we studied recently is we incorporated nitrogen atoms in the structure of those graphene nanoribbons. And as a result, they became catalytically active in oxygen reduction. So which is an important reaction, for example, in fuel cells. Graphene nanoribbons also have potential to improve electronics and solar cells. But there could be many other applications because once you build the structures with atomic precision, you can gain many new properties. Sinitskii earned a prestigious career award from the National Science Foundation to pursue his research.
NJ Solar Panels
THERE IS A SOLAR PANEL PUSH UNDER WAY. A FEDERAL TAX CREDIT THAT HELPS OFFSET THE COST OF SOLAR PANS WILL EXPIRE SOON. ELISE FINCH HAS THE STORY. Reporter HOMEOWNERS ARE RUSHING TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITY TO SAVE MONEY AND SWITCH TO A RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCE. PEOPLE RO MORE CONCERNED ABOUT MONEY THAN CLEAN ENERGY. Reporter NOW IS THE TIME TO CONSIDER PURCHASING A SOLAR ARRAY FOR YOUR HOME TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FEDERAL INVESTMENT TAX CREDIT. WHAT THIS IS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IS A DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR REDUCTION ON YOUR TAX.
BILL FOR EQUAL TO 30 OF THE COST OF YOUR SOLAR INSTALLATION. IF YOU DON'T HAVE A SOLAR SYSTEM THAT'S BUILT AND OPERATING BY THE END OF 2016, FOR A RESIDENTIAL HOMEOWNERS THAT TAX CREDIT GOES TO ZERO. Reporter HE OWNS MONEY TO PEOPLE FOR SOLAR ARRAYS. IT COSTS UP TO $40,000. MOST PEOPLE LEASE SOLAR PACKAGES. THEY DON'T GET THE TAX BENEFITS. THE COMPANY THEY LEASE FROM DOES AND THE SAVINGS GET PASSED ON TO THEM. THE PROCESS TAKES LONGER THAN MOST PEOPLE THINK, LEASE OR BUY. A REPRESENTATIVE FROM SOLAR.
CITY SAYS IT TAKES A DAY OR LESS TO INSTALL BUT THE REQUIRED PERMITS AND INSPECTIONS BEFORE AND AFTER INSTALLATION TAKES MONTHS. PERMITTING TAKES THE LONGEST. GETTING YOUR HOME POWERED UP IS ROUGHLY ONE TO THREE MONTHS. Reporter OTHER EXPERTS SUGGEST BUDGETING AS MUCH AS 8 MONTHS MEANING TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO PURCHASE PANELS, THE BEST CANDIDATES HAVE THE UP FRONT CASH TO BUY SOLAR PANELS OR GOOD ENOUGH CREDIT TO GET A LOAN AND A LARGE ENOUGH TAX BILL THAT THE FEDERAL CREDIT WILL BE WORTH.
Making Solar Energy More Affordable, Efficient
Siliconbased solar cells are the rule, but a University of NebraskaLincoln scientist hopes to change the industry standard using new materials and manufacturing methods. Jinsong Huang's research has been featured in the magazine, Science, and is supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy. Huang makes solar cells using perovskite, a material with a crystal structure that has proven almost as efficient as silicon, but much less expensive. Thin layers of material are applied using a technique called spin coating. The next step is to demonstrate the device is stable.
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