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A sunny future for solar cells | www.gogo-battery.com

Patenting task on photovoltaic technological innovation grew phenomenally in the past decade, reflecting the increasing incredible importance of renewable energy solutions.

With constantly rising fossil fuel prices, concern about security of energy supply, and growing evidence of climate change induced by society’s carbon dioxide emissions, interest in renewable energy sources has never been more intense.

Besides wind power and advanced biomass technologies, solar power is an increasingly attractive alternative to hydrocarbons power sources.

Now’s the time: get ready for solar cells

Life on Earth depends on the Sun for its energy. This steady and reliable source of light and heat supplies up to 1.0 kW of power to every square metre of the planet’s surface. Tapping into that universal energy supply in a clean and economic way has been a goal for energy technologists for many years. Today, it seems that this dream is close to reality.

Photovoltaic (literally light-electricity) technology, also known as Solar Cells, was first developed for space applications in the 1950s. As an energy source, photovoltaic (PV) technology has many advantages – it is modular, clean, easy to maintain, and can be installed almost anywhere, provided a sun-facing surface is available. The electricity produced can be used directly, stored locally or fed into an existing electricity grid.

At the European Patent Office, Alberto Visentin has been monitoring trends in solar energy technology for over twenty years. Based at the organisation’s Berlin office, he is the EPO Technology Counsellor for photovoltaic technology. He sees modularity and reliability of PV technology as key features. “A single solar cell module may generate only 50W, but any number of modules can be integrated in a system to create facilities from a few kW up to 10 or 100 MW capacity,” he said. “Connection is easy. Add to the modules an inverter ( a device that converts the Direct Current produced by the cells into Alternated Current), and you have a power plant.”

An extended family of photovoltaic technologies

Currently, most commercially produced solar cells are based on silicon technologies(1) .

Two of these silicon technologies are based on processes similar to those used for microprocessor fabrication, using high-purity silicon wafers. “On one hand, the most efficient solar cells are produced with monocrystalline silicon, but this material is quite expensive,” says Alberto Visentin. “On the other hand, polycrystalline silicon is less expensive, and less energy is required for its production.”

Alberto Visentin nominated a key patent in crystalline Silicon PV technology for the EPO/European Commission Inventor of the Year Awardsin May 2006. The key feature of this patent (3) is a series of contacts buried deep in the Silicon that traps more light-generated carriers and increases the energy conversion efficiency of the cell. The evolution of this cell design, although still too expensive for widespread application, made it possible to produce cells reaching about 25% efficiency. These cells are used for example as the power source for vehicles competing in the World Solar Challenge.

Besides, thin-film silicon technologies have also been developed to place a thin film of amorphous or microcrystalline silicon onto flat large-area substrates such as glass. This has the advantage of allowing the mass production of very large-area PV devices. “These devices are less expensive than conventional PV technology but deliver a lower conversion efficiency of between 5-8%,” Visentin explains. A specific thin-film technology is based on the use of Copper Indium Diselenide (CIS) material. “CIS has the advantages of the silicon thin-film technology but has good efficiency and is not too expensive,” says Visentin. “This technology is quite new on the market but very promising.”

In the background, a major trend in recent years is organic solar cell technology. The efficiency of this technology is still very low, but the organic materials have good potential for very cheap large surface coating and can be used in thin film applications. This would allow for easy integration in buildings – window coatings, for example. In particular, there are two main categories of organic solar cells. The first is dye-sensitised solar cells (DSC)(4) .

“These devices work via a ‘sandwich’ of materials and attempt to mimic the process of photosynthesis in plants,” explains Visentin. The second uses layers of light-sensitive electron donor polymers and an electron acceptor substance that transfers the photo-induced electrons to the cell electrodes. The filler material can include fullerene molecules (C60 – C100) as the electron acceptor.

A different way to enhance efficiency involves the developments of light-concentrating systems. This involves the use of small surface, highly efficient solar cells based on semiconductor materials such as Gallium Arsenide, coupled to large light gathering devices, such as mirrors or lenses.

Booming demand

The contribution of solar cells amounts only to some 0,1% of the world energy supply, but production and installation of PV technology is growing strongly, at double digit rates. In fact, demand for solar cells is now outstripping the available supply of silicon. “Although silicon is one of the most abundant elements on Earth, pure crystalline silicon, the industry’s feedstock, is in short supply,” says Visentin.

Between 2003 and 2004 the total installed capacity for PV power around the world grew by 42%, reaching a total of 2.6 GW. In 2004, 770 MW of capacity was installed, of which 94% was in three countries – Japan, Germany and the US. These three nations also lead the production of solar cells with Japan producing 604 MW, Germany 198 MW and the US 138 MW.

Production and installation is also taking off rapidly in the emerging economies such as China. “In 2004, Chinese solar cell modules production was estimated to be 65 MW with an installed capacity of about 75 MW,” says Visentin.

The importance of the PV energy sector can be gauged by the presence of oil majors such as Shell and BP, whose solar cell production have reached 6% and 7% of the global market respectively in 2004. However, Japanese electronic companies are the market leaders, with Sharp at 29% and Kyocera at 11%.

Start, sustain, take off

The Japanese market was initially boosted by a generous financial incentive for installing solar cells, and although this subsidy is no longer available, the market is still growing very strongly. “In Europe, and particularly in Germany, the use of feed-in tariffs has helped to grow domestic and commercial use,” says Visentin.

The production of silicon solar cells involves the use of large amounts of energy, and this has led to some questioning of whether it is truly a renewable energy source. But recent work by the University of Utrecht and ECN (5) has calculated the energy payback time for various silicon technologies in European locations. “The calculation estimates the time the solar cell must be in operation before it has generated the amount of energy that was used in producing it,” concludes Visentin. “The results show payback in two to four years.”

Take it for granted: with oil prices staying high, Solar Cells will keep their place in the sun.

From the perspective of patenting

A native of Rome, Alberto Visentin studied for a degree at Rome University, specialising in nuclear physics. He was first introduced to solar energy during two subsequent years at the University of Cosenza, where he was involved with the use of solar technology to produce thermal power. “My experimental work was performed in Rome using parabolic trough reflectors to concentrate the sun’s energy on liquid-filled pipes,” he says. “In mid-summer the liquid in the pipes could reach very high temperatures – up to 300 °C.”

Visentin joined the EPO in January 1980, soon after it had been set up. In 1985, he was appointed into semiconductor technology, working on optoelectronic technology such as photodiodes, light-emitting diodes and solar cells. “The proportion of my work on solar cell applications was relatively low at first,” he observes. “The global number of applications in the field grew steadily over the 1990s to reach just over 1000 first filings in 1997, but by 2002 the number had jumped to over 2000.”, says Alberto Visentin.

In 2003 he was part of the Trilateral Examiner Exchange Programme with the Japanese Patent Office (JPO) and stayed in Tokyo collaborating with Japanese examiners also involved with photovoltaics. “Japan is still the main centre of patenting activity for PV applications with over 70% of first filings for patents between 1990 and 2004,” says Visentin. “I was also able to visit a number of Japanese photovoltaic production facilities.”

Inside 2003, Visentin utilized in the EPO’s Berlin business office, and – coping almost exclusively together with patent applications inside the photovoltaic field being a senior expert – is currently acts also since Technology Counsellor for your EPO. He can be a regular participant with photovoltaic conferences, and contains presented papers together with latest developments on this filed at the particular European Photovoltaic seminars in Paris inside 2004 and Barcelona inside 2005.

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How to rebuild your laptop battery
Confess it. Come away from denial. You know your laptop that has been supercool 2 years back now gets a quarter-hour of battery living. It sucks and most of us share the identical problem eventually. Laptop batteries (and others) will learn to lose their overall charging capacity in a short time. It’s slow thus we usually will not notice it right up until years later. Yet when it takes place, you can’t aid but go ridiculous. Laptop batteries usually cost a king’s ransom (my 12-inch powerbook battery is similar to $130). This is the reason you should take the trail less traveled and also rebuild your battery power.So what do you have to do? Well it’s not too complicated, you just have to basically replace the individual cells inside of the battery casing. Ever have an R/C car and you had to buy those $20 battery packs at Radio Shack for them? Well if you take a close look, it’s usually just 6 batteries saran-wrapped together with a proprietary plug. Same goes for these laptop batteries.

Now before we go any further, let me issue a warning. Although most of us think we are invincible, we’re not. This is something that could lead to harm if you don’t follow everything directly. If you are new to hacking apart electronics and what not, don’t proceed. Have a specialist help you. We’re not responsible for anything that may happen, mkay? Kay.

Allright so let’s get started. Take your fork out of the electrical socket for a moment and check it.
Remove your battery from your laptop. Try to get it drained all the way if you can. Look at the label on your battery. Somewhere near the warning where it says  Don’t do this, don’t do that blah blah blah’ you should see a model number for the battery pack. Probably something along the lines of  Lithium Ion Battery Pack No.  Pry off the cover of your battery pack like so.

….which will reveal something like below.

Individual cells.

If you have a powerbook like me, it’ll look like this:

So. Now we’ve got a bunch of cells. Cute. Find the part number for them. As you can see in the pic above the powerbook battery, the number is printed directly on the wrapping. In this case it’s CGP345010. Ok great. What’s that mean? Google it and see. Ahhh! It’s made by Panasonic. Wonderful. Now we have to go get replacements. If there’s 6 cells, you’ll obviously need 6 new ones. Try this website for ordering them.

Get out your xacto knife, wire cutters, etc. for this. You’ll need to carefully remove all the cells. Each battery pack is different so we can’t say how it’ll work out for you. Just be careful and don’t throw away the old ones.

Take out all the metal contacts etc. until you have yourself a blank battery tray.

Chances are your battery cells will come with wires on there for connecting it to something. No. We don’t want these. We need this to lay in the tray! Remove your black and red wires but keep any others left. It’s usually to keep them from short-circuiting. Next, take any coating and tops off your old batteries and move them carefully onto the new ones. After you’re done, you should have naked old batteries, and new batteries that look like the old ones.

Next, you need to get contact going. Obviously using metal. You can either solder them together properly with a metal strip on the front, or just try positioning the metal correctly inside the case with the cells. I did the 2nd method and it worked for me after some tinkering around.

Nearly there. Put everything back together need it was and ensure you investigate finished product by using a multimeter to make certain there’s a active. If all are going to be well, throw the entire thing back together along with into your laptop computer. Charge it up completely with the necessity for it along with voila. You our buddy, are collection.

Much as a consequence of electronics lab, and reader [surfer] for ones tips and photographs! In my watch, the PowerBook battery pack is significantly less complicated, but do certainly not let that stop somebody! Just take awareness!

express-battery:

Symbol Battery power has flexible form factor as they can be manufactured in many shapes and measurements. It is light-weighted as no require the metal casings which can be required by Lithium Ion power packs. It is safe because the polymer electrolyte used in it isn’t flammable. But the Symbol…

Maximize your Laptop Battery’s Life with BatteryCare

There are times when our laptop batteries seem to last for hours…and other times they seem to discharge in mere minutes.

The built-in battery manager in Windows can be rather deceptive in its reports of how much time is left before the battery dies. Even more, changing the power settings in windows can take several minutes better spent watching a DVD or surfing the Web.

Monitoring and maximizing your laptop battery’s life becomes much easier with a free program called Battery Care. The program sits in your system tray like the Windows battery monitor, but gives much more information when your mouse hovers over it.

It tells your battery’s percentage charged, the temperature of your CPU and hard drive, and your current power setting.

If you click the icon in the System Tray, you are shown a selection menu to change your power settings. This means you can change to your Power Saver setting with just one click.

Right-clicking the BatteryCare icon in the System Tray brings up another menu that allows you to change your power plan, adjust settings, donate to the publisher or show the program’s main information screen. Click Show at the top of the menu to see more information about your battery than you have likely ever seen.

The first screen that appear is basic information, further describing your battery’s current health. This is where you can find out how much battery life you have before finding a place to plug in.

Click Detailed Information towards the top right of the window to bring up a menu with information about your battery’s designed capacity, current capacity and wear level. This can help you predict if it is time to buy a new battery.

Clicking the Settings link at the top right of this window brings up configuration options for getting the most of BatteryCare and your battery.

Most of the general settings are self explanatory, like starting the program when Windows starts, but there are added settings to disable the Aero theme in Vista (it worked in Windows 7 too) and to pause services. This can extend your battery life at least a few extra minutes.

BatteryCare is superior to the built-in Windows battery monitoring functions. It gives more information about the battery and over time, its statistical calculations about discharge cycles and how much time you have left on the current battery charge improve. If you use your laptop’s battery on a daily basis, this  program is worth the download.

Laptop Battery Tests

Laptop battery have a relatively short service life and are really expensive to replace. There is almost no remedy to restore the capacity of the battery one it is worn out.

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Though the actual life of a laptop battery depends on the usage habit of the laptop computer, most of the laptop users often complain that their laptop batteries no longer hold the charge and that they wanted a new one. Testing laptop battery life will help you in determining the expected life of the battery, so that you can avoid unexpected battery problem while using your laptop. You can also estimate the date for ordering a new battery.

Some of the factors such as CPU utilization and screen brightness affect a laptop battery life. The criteria that affect the battery life can be used to measure battery life of all laptops. There are many free services available on Internet and from software developers that aid in testing the status of laptop battery. Some software is available to test the laptop batteries.

Some software can also estimate remaining life of the laptop battery. Laptop battery performance tests are designed to measure the expected battery life of a laptop. A battery analyzer is recommended if you need a full battery service. Gnome Power Manager is a power management tool which can display detailed battery information of your laptop.

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Dell Studio 1555 Battery
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The tool even detects and explains the problems which are responsible for causing poor performance of the battery. It also gives the details of the quantity of battery’s capacity degraded. It gives information about the original capacity of the battery in your laptop. An interesting feature of this tool is that it can give you information on the amount of power consumed by your computer at the moment.

The Cadex C7400 is a programmable battery analyzer that is capable of quick testing, charging, priming and reconditioning of the different types of laptop batteries. Lithium, nickel and lead-based Laptop battery can be quickly and easily tested using the programmable Cadex 7400 services. The Cadex C7400 analyzer uses a quick test program to measure the laptop battery health in about 3 minutes, independent of charge. The Cadex C7400 analyzer uses OhmTest program to measure the internal battery resistance.

How to Extend Your Notebook’s Battery Life ?

Imagine you are sitting at the airport and you have just enough time to log in and check your email on that cool new notebook. Just as you get to your inbox, the light starts flashing saying you are running out of battery power and wouldn’t you know it, your cord won’t reach the outlet. There are certain steps you can take. The following fifteen tips can help you extend your battery’s life.

  1. Defrag your hard drive regularly so it runs as efficiently as possible. Only perform this activity when plugged in, not on battery power. Mac OSX is equipped to better handle fragmentation so Apple users may not need this tip.
  2. Dim the monitor. Many notebooks have this option available and many include CPU and cooling enhancement enabling you to squeeze every last bit of power from your battery.
  3. Reduce the number of programs that are active in the background. You may be running programs such as ITunes, Desktop Search, and so on. These all contribute to your CPU usage which quickly lowers battery life. Shut down everything you don’t need when operating on battery.
  4. Limit the use of external devices. This includes all USB devices. Your mouse and Wi-Fi use a lot of battery juice. Simply shut them down or unplug them. And never charge your MP3 or iPod when solely operating on battery power.
  5. Increase the RAM. This will allow the notebook to process more information with the memory in the notebook, instead of using the virtual memory. When you use virtual memory, it causes hard drive usage thus reducing power efficiency. This mostly applies to cases where you need to run programs that require a lot of virtual memory usage, since the more RAM you add, the more energy you will use.
  6. CD and DVD drives consume more power than hard drives do, so you should run off a hard drive whenever possible. Just having a CD/DVD in the drive can use notebook battery power. While the hard drive spins, it uses battery life although the device is not being used. Instead of using optical programs, you should use virtual drive programs such as Alcohol 120% as much as possible.
  7. Keep the battery contacts free of dust and debris. Clean the battery’s metal contacts frequently with a clean cloth with a bit of rubbing alcohol on it and you will maintain power transfer efficiency.
  8. Exercise your battery. Do not let charged battery sit idle for an extended amount of time. You should use the battery a minimum of one time every two to three weeks once it is charged. And never allow a Li-On battery to completely discharge. Only older batteries with memory effects should be allowed to discharge.
  9. Use the hibernate function instead of standby; this saves a lot more power. Not only will your notebook shut down in the hibernation mode, it will resume right where you left off.
  10. Lower the operating temperature - notebooks run much better when the temperature is low. Go to gogo-battery.com for some great ways to clean the vents and other cooling tips.
  11. To set up and get the most out of your power options, you should find the “Power Options” link in your Windows Control Panel; once you get there, you can maximize your power usage by selecting the “Max Battery” option.
  12. Don’t work on multiple programs. Stick to one task while you are using battery power. Focus on one task at a time, such as finishing a spreadsheet before checking your e-mail or listening to music. Your batteries will be drained before anything gets finished if you don’t!
  13. Try to demand the least from your PC. Gaming or playing a DVD consumes much more power than passive activities such as email and word processing. If you only have one battery, prioritize with care.
  14. Replace your old notebook with a new model that is more energy friendly. Some manufactures are even offering batteries that last all day. Purchasing a newer more efficient notebook in place of an older one is a quick fix.
  15. Prevent the memory effect. If you’re using a very old notebook, you’ll want to prevent the ‘memory effect’ Keep the battery healthy by fully charging and then fully discharging it at least once every two to three weeks. Don’t worry about this if you have Li-Ion batteries, which many notebooks have, since they do not have the ‘memory effect’.

Bonus Tip #1: Shut the auto save function off. The auto save feature in MS-Word and Excel is a useful one, but they add to the workload of your hard disk as they keep saving your active files regularly. However as the battery begins to run low, turn it back on to prevent permanent loss.

Bonus Tip #2: Limit the graphics use. Changing the screen resolution and turning off fancy graphic drivers will allow you to do this. According to an update from Andrew, Using a graphics or video card can consume as much or even more energy as a hard disk can.

As said in Bonus Tip #1, you should be careful anytime you turn off the auto save feature. Also, Tip #8 can tell you how to alter information when discharging batteries. Thank you to everybody who pointed this out! An extra bonus second tip can be added to the first tip about the spinning of hard drives in Mac OSX. Thank you to everybody who brought this to light!

Please provide a digital link to this story if you think it is useful, and share your own notebook battery experiences! Let us know in the comments section!

Read more essential guide to caring for your power tools batteries, laptop batteries here:

http://www.gogo-battery.com/battery-tips/