Transmitting solar energy generated in space back to Earth has long been the subject of science fiction, first appearing in Isaac Asimov’s 1941 short story, Reason, where solar energy is converted to microwaves by a space station, and beamed back to nearby planets.
Insights: solar energy
As awareness of the devastating consequences of climate change grows, technology that harnesses renewable energy has seen significant investment in recent years. Wind energy is no exception. With increased investment, there comes a need for protection by way of patents. Patents are typically filed at an early stage of development, due to the requirement for the technology they cover to be new and inventive. This in turn means that patent filing statistics can provide a good insight into where R&D is being carried out, and into potential future technologies. In this article we ask, what areas are the core technologies where patent filings are being made, where are these filings being made, and who is filing them?
26 April 2020 is World Intellectual Property Day. World Intellectual Property Day is an event established by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) to inspire the public to “learn about the role that intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity”. Each annual event has a theme and this year’s theme, focussing on climate change, is “Innovate for a Green Future”.
As countries around the world strive to curb climate change, it becomes increasingly clear that radical innovative energy solutions are needed if we are to stand any chance of achieving net zero emissions. A team of engineers at the University of Queensland may have provided one such solution in the field of quantum dot solar cell technology, achieving a near 25% improvement, and a world record, for the conversion of solar energy into electricity using quantum dots. Inventor, and Australian Research Council laureate, Lianzhou Wang, explains that the improvement “is effectively the difference between quantum dot solar cell technology being an exciting prospect and being commercially viable”.
Demand for renewable energy has increased year by year.This growth is particularly due to the increased demand in bioenergy such as plant mass for electricity generation. Since bioenergy sources can be transported, the UK imports much of its biomass for energy generation. Therefore the distribution of renewable fuel use in the UK sees a majority coming from Bioenergy.
A new study led by the Australian National University could lead to cheaper and more efficient solar technology. According to the study, the current photovoltaic (PV) cell market is dominated by silicon based technology, which is nearing its theoretical efficiency limit.