Dr Caren Lacy, Principal
Energy, Resources & Utilities
oil & gas
Carbon capture and utilisation;
Drilling technologies; etc.
Energy & power
Renewable energy smart grids;
Advanced Battery storage;
Energy production forecasting;
IoT-based predictive analytics;
Smart grid cybersecurity; etc.
Ultramembranes for water filtration;
Predictive leakage detection;
Anaerobic wastewater processing;
Bacteria for invasive species control; etc.
Connectivity for underground mines;
Smart materials for tailings monitoring;
Wearable technology; etc.
Our industries of focus in Energy, Resources & Utilities.
Our most recent projects in Energy, Resources & Utilities.
Our most recent µInsight in Energy, Resources & Utilities.
Increasing solar cell competitiveness with add-on components
Silicon remains the most widely-used material for solar cells largely due to its low cost. However, silicon-based solar cells are inherently inefficient in converting solar energy to electricity, with a maximum theoretical efficiency of only 30%. However, technological measures can be taken to improve the energy conversion efficiency of silicon solar cells, and in some cases, even exceed this theoretical limit. One method involves using competitively priced 'add-on' components, which are affixed directly to the solar cell, and increase the solar energy-to-electricity conversion ratio dramatically, without significantly increasing the solar cell’s $/Wh ratio. In this paper we discuss the use of 'solar concentrators', which are 'add-on' components that increase the amount of sunlight that strikes a solar panel. In the past, solar concentrators were expensive and cumbersome, and primarily suitable for commercial installations and solar farms. Modern concentrator products have addressed these issues with innovative design solutions, such as parabolic mirror concentrators, light tracking concentrators, and integrated solar energy and water heating systems. This paper also highlights several cutting-edge developments in the design of solar concentrators from university labs, including 3D printed solar concentrators, biomimetic concentrators, and luminescent solar concentrators.