3D Solar Panels Produce 20 Times More Energy
Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently discovered the power of a 3D-inspired solar panel tower that could draw in 20 times more energy than flat panel designs.
In an accordion-style tower, the panels proved to draw in more solar from more angles compared to flat panels during both cloudy and sunny conditions. What's more astounding is that the idea stemmed from 13-year-old Adiean Dywer's hypothesis that a design based on trees would produce more energy. Carried out under careful measurement and data calculations by the MIT team, that theory proved to be successful.
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Another benefit of the super power towers is that they save space. Although the design is expected to cost more than flat panels, the payoff could be more than worth the investment. The panels could be easily shipped in a flat folded state and restructured to its zig zag shape at the site of installation. Researchers predict the towers would be ideal for parking lots to help power electric vehicle charging stations.
The MIT team is still experimenting with different types of solar films and how to distribute the towers for the most effective use. Being that the towers could shade each other if built in close proximity, the solar array is currently intended for urban environments. However, they believe it could potentially be useful in solar farms in the future as well.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.