From: firstname.lastname@example.org (N. Thornton)
Subject: Re: Galena solar panels?
Date: 8 Oct 2002 12:46:46 -0700
NNTP-Posting-Date: 8 Oct 2002 19:46:46 GMT
>>We know solar PV panels work using large silicon diodes. Could one
>>make a panel using another semiconductor? Would it produce anything?
>>I'm thinking particularly of the old semicons that were in use in
>>20s, galena, carborundum, etc.
>make it unsuitable, as you can see from the last link above, there
has been a
>lot of research to identify suitable solar cell materials.
Yup, but they tend to concentrate on trying to improve electrical
efficiancy. I was thinking of tackling the problem from another angle,
from the viewpoint of financial eficiency.
Currently what stops solar in 99.9% of places is the cost per watt
figure. Now imagine if we could make solar cells consisting of galena
on polythene or mylar sheeting, with metal conductors deposited on.
One could have a whole roof sized solar panel that is say a third as
electrically efficient as silicon for maybe 15 or 20 bucks. Now that
really would become popular!
Most solar folks seem fixated on ignoring the real question for solar,
which is simply how are we going to get it to a sensible cost. Once it
is competitively priced I'm sure it will take off. I think we're
almost bound to have solar roofs everywhere in 200 years, at a cost of
So this isn't a problem after all:
> and a mention of a
>bandgap of .41 eV @ 300 K for Galena (corresponding to 3026 nm photon
>compared to 1.1 eV for Silicon (1128 nm photon energy). So although
>energy photons can excite an electron in Galena than in Silicon, the
>photon energy above the bandgap is lost, and, all other things being
>Silicon solar cells should be 268% more efficient than Galena solar
>operated on light more energetic than 1128 nm (which is near
From: Robert Baer (email@example.com)
> No reason why these or Selenium, Cadmium, etc could not be tried.
> Start a research company, write a wowser business plan, and fritter
>the money towards "exotic" solutions.
> You may even surprize everybody (including yourself) and find
>something competitive, whick would kill the idea of money frittering.
Don't tempt me :) I have a lot of ideas with far greater chance of
success, so I won't really be doing that one.
One of my always-want-to-dos is to produce a competitor to the
transistor. I did come up with a design using treated carbon printed
on paper, thinking wow that could be one seriously cheap slow CPU, but
unfortunately it had so many disadvantages I couldn't come up with a
single commercial app for it! It worked, but was not practically
Its one of those things I am not likely to achieve, more of a hobby,
but I do think one day we'll break silicon's hold on tronics. If we
one day find something way cheaper it will change the whole world of
electronics. Computers today are good, but imagine having a miniature
computer built into almost everything. Objects around us would use
sense in their actions rather than lying there passively. It could
really change things, and someone's going to do it some day I reckon.