Abu Dhabi based Masdar Institute of Science and Technology has made a breakthrough in almost doubling the amount of energy harvested from solar cells by using the chemical element germanium mixed with silicon.
“A lot of the sun comes through and gets wasted. The electrons move faster in germanium so you can actually get more current with it. By incorporating germanium in our solar cells, we could exploit more of the sun’s radiation so this allows more efficiency” said Dr Ammar Nayfeh, an assistant professor in microsystems engineering at the institute and head of the project.
Dr Nayfeh and his team will spend the next few months developing the clean room- a a lab where we can do experiments with tools comparable to Stanford and MIT.
The project was launched in 2011 with the aim to provide smaller, faster and less power-hungry devices by optimising the capture of solar energy. The solar project is expected to complete by the end of next year and the goal is to set up a solar plant in Abu Dhabi that could supply not only the UAE but also neighbouring countries.
Source: The National