The sun is the largest fusion reactor we have available to us, and we do not make use of it as we should. But we are not to blame, it is the usage of "conventional" solar panels that cause the lack of notoriety for solar energy in the public. And one that has the potential to alleviate our reliance on fossil fuels in this energy crisis.
Regular solar panels absorb light on a 2 dimensional plane, essentially, they are flat. And with this the surface area of them is minimal compared to the volume of the unit. The more surface area on a solar panel, the more light it can absorb and the more energy it has the potential to produce.
So how can one increase the surface area of a solar panel without having to have such a large volume of cells? Carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are microscopic tubes made of carbon atoms that form a geometric lattice. By cultivating carbon nano tubes beneath the absorption layer of a solar cell, you can dramatically increase the surface area by adding a third dimension of space to create area. In turn, decreasing the size of solar panels needed to create the same energy that "conventional" panels do.
With more efficient solar panels, we can draw away from fossil fuels. Imagine a near future where on your car, a solar panel, and as you drive, your car is being refueled. When you park, it is charging for when you are ready to go. Your cell phone being charged as you make calls or just carry it on your belt. The possibilities are endless, but the first step is to create better solar cells, by making them smaller. And using carbon nanotubes would do just that.
ABOUT THE ENTRANT
Name: Alec Abrams
Type of entry: individual
Number of times previously entering contest:never
Alec's favorite design and analysis
CAD,Autodesk Inventor, Multiphysics
For managing CAD data Alec's company uses: None
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Patent status: none