A Massachusetts start-up called Bandgap Engineering is aiming to double the power generation of solar cells using nanowires. Already, the company says it has achieved a 5% increase in energy conversion for solar cells and their cost is just one dollar per watt to install.
When placed in cells, their nanowires cause sunlight to bounce around inside and greatly increase the chance it will be absorbed. If Bandgap can arrange the nanowires so they are aligned with specific planes, solar cells could produce electricity from low-light situations.
Solar cells with an efficiency of 60% are theoretically possible but the startup is aiming at 38% for now. It is also applying its nano-silicon technology to lithium-ion batteries.
Bandgap was awarded a $750,000 DOE grant in 2011.
Image Credit: Illustration by Kristian Molhave, Wiki Commons