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When a PV cell is exposed to sunlight, the photons of the absorbed sunlight dislodge the electrons from the atoms of the cell. The free electrons then move through the cell, creating and filling in holes. It is this movement of electrons and holes that generate electricity. The process of converting...
Most of us are familiar with solar cells because we encounter them every day – in calculators, street lamps, and traffic road signs. If these devices have enough light, they can theoretically work forever. Solar or photovoltaic (PV) cells are made up of many individuals cell stacked together. The cell material is a...
Wind power generates electricity by transferring energy from wind to mechanical energy. The principle behind wind turbines is very simple: the energy in the wind turns two or three blades around a rotor. The rotor is connected to the shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity. Wind turbines are mounted on...
Imagine that something that you cannot see can have enough movement to harness energy! From a scientific perspective, air is like any other fluid -- if it can be moved forcefully, the motion provides kinetic energy. In a wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades capture the kinetic energy of the...
Fuel cells produce electricity from reactants such as oxygen and hydrogen -- although other fuels besides hydrogen can be used. The electrochemical reaction produces water and heat as byproducts. Fuel cells are much more efficient than the internal combustion engine because they provide more...
Electricity for residential and business use can be produced using a combination of wind, solar, and hydrogen fuel cells. There also needs to be cooperation between corporations, utility companies, and individuals to successfully transition to a renewable energy economy. Corporations will have to manufacture...
Despite the recent negative publicity surrounding fossil fuels, crude oil, and natural gas have been beneficial for the growth of the modern world. It has allowed us to have life after dark, transport goods all over the world, and enabled technology to advance. However, the use of fossil fuels has also resulted in...
If you look at any basic fuel cell diagram, you can see that the fuel cell generates electrons. In the scientific or engineering circles, these electrons have many names, but a common term is “charge transport.” Charge transport is the movement of charges from the electrode (where they are produced) to the...
Electrolyzers use electricity to break water into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolysis of water occurs through an electrochemical reaction that does not require external components or moving parts. It is very reliable and can produce ultra-pure hydrogen (> 99.999%) in a non-polluting manner when...
If you took the electrical output directly from a fuel cell, it would be an unideal power source. The output of a fuel cell is a DC voltage that varies widely and has a limited overload capacity. The electrical output is slow to respond to load changes because it is based on a chemical reaction, and may have...