A team of scientists from MIT has developed a new solar device, which owing to its practical nature of working, called a Hot Solar Cell. Scientists state that the new cells can convert heat captured from sun into focused light beams and create continuous and inexpensive power. The existing designs of solar panels are expensive, bulky, and have limited range of efficiency. The conventional photovoltaic have limited absorption features, absorbing only a fraction of energy from sunlight. In contrast, the new cells are capable of turning sunlight into heat and convert it back into light, which can be then focused for use by the solar cells again.
Conventional solar cells, most of which are made of silicon, capture energy from sunlight in the violet to red range. This factor is a huge limitation for these cells as they can never be able to generate over 32% of the captured sunlight into usable energy. The new design can hopefully be able to lead to the development of inexpensive and more reliable solar power that can operate well even after the sun sets. Researchers state that hypothetically, the new design can nearly double the efficiency of the present-day solar cells. However, the technology could take nearly 10 years to finally hit the market.
The foremost step that is required to create the new solar cells is the development of the right variety of absorber and emitter module, which could act as a light shaft above the solar cell. The design uses carbon nanotubes for capturing all the energy in sunlight, converting most of it into heat. As the temperature of the cell reaches to about 1,800 °F, the emitting layer in it radiates the energy as light, which is then available for absorption for photovoltaic cells.