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Nanotechnology and Photovoltaics
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Summary
In principle, enough sunlight falls on the Earth's surface in a couple of hours each day to meet the whole world's energy needs for one year. The problem is how to harvest this energy inexpensively and how to get it to the locations that need it.
To produce a gigawatt of electricity by solar energy (the amount of electricity produced by a single conventional coal-fired power station), 65 square kilometers of solar cells are needed. Conventional solar cells are expensive, and unwieldy. Scientists are producing new types of solar cells based on nanotechnology. These use items like semi-conducting plastics and nano-particles, and the hope is that these can be produced in really large areas. They can collect more sunlight and produce more electricity than conventional solar cells, and are less expensive to produce.
Keywords: nanotechnology, photovoltaics, solar cells, semi-conducting plastics, nano-particles
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