Oman’s SQU Research Shows How Nanotech Dramatically Increases Solar Panel Efficiency

Nanotech and solar have long been a natural pairing. Here’s some result of research done in Oman which shows how nanotech can increase the efficiency of solar panels.

Oman’s future in solar energy could become a lot brighter, thanks to Sultan Qaboos University’s (SQU’s) new Nanotechnology Research Centre.

One of the programmes the centre is currently researching is a way to boost the efficiency of solar cells in the Sultanate, and this could have far-reaching advantages, according to Mohammed Al Abri, assistant chair at the Nanotechnology Research Centre at SQU.

“We have four major research programmes: oil and gas, renewable energy, manufacturing and water desalination,” said Al Abri, speaking to the Times of Oman. “Just this year, two patents were granted to us: one for the treatment of oily water and the second involves advanced treatments for desalination.”

“Currently, we are working on the synthesis of a nanostructure, and we will then apply this synthesised material in renewable energy for solar cells,” he explained, adding that this could also have potential benefits for water desalination, thereby helping the Sultanate procure long-term, sustainable sources of energy and water.”

Solar panels that are currently in use are characterised by a low efficiency of approximately 26 per cent absorption, and Al Abri is hopeful that this new nanostructure will help boost that number, thereby offsetting the high cost of manufacturing for these panels.

“With the current panels, it is quite common for wind to bring dust and other debris onto these panels and they stick to them, thereby reducing the surface area and efficiency of the panels,” he revealed. “We are synthesising a nano-material that would help self-clean the cells, and maintain their quality.”

“In addition, we are also working on nanotechnology that will act as a catalyst to help better absorb solar energy, so that the surface areas of these panels don’t have to be so large,” added Al Abri. “This will lead to smaller and more efficient solar energy absorption, which means we can set up more panels in the same area and increase the amount of sunlight that can be converted into energy.”

“We are also looking at nanotechnology to help break down in a biodegradable manner so that we have a good source of biogas and bio-fuel,” he said. “This will also give us an alternative source of clean fuel.”

Oman’s SQU research to boost efficiency of solar panels with nanotechnology

Oman’s future in solar energy could become a lot brighter, thanks to Sultan Qaboos University’s (SQU’s) new Nanotechnology Research Centre.

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