Octillion Corp. announced that researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have observed a new and important high-energy effect in silicon nanoparticles – the principal material used in Octillion’s NanoPower Window technology – which results in a process where more of the sun’s energy is converted into electricity.
Octillion is developing a transparent glass window capable of generating electricity using silicon nanoparticles. In a published study unrelated to the NREL findings, researchers reported that the nanoparticles used in Octillion’s NanoPower Window technology are able to substantially increase the power performance of conventional solar cells by 60-70% in the ultraviolet-blue range and significantly boost power by as much as 10% in the visible light range.
In separate research, NREL scientists reported that silicon nanocrystals can produce more than one electron from single photons of sunlight, a phenomenon referred to as Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG). When today’s conventional photovoltaic solar cells absorb a photon of sunlight, about 50 percent of the incident energy is lost as heat. MEG provides a way to convert some of this energy lost as heat into additional electricity.
Importantly, the silicon nanoparticles used in Octillion’s NanoPower Window technology are able to successfully convert the same UV components that typically cause damage and create wasteful heat into useful electrical energy, a recently published finding.
According to the NREL, until now MEG has only been reported to occur in: nanocrystals made of materials not currently used in commercial solar cells; and generally unsafe materials such as lead. In contrast, Octillion’s high-energy nanoparticles are made of silicon, a toxicologically inert substance and the world’s most abundant, naturally-occurring element, second only to oxygen. Octillion’s NanoPower Window technology exclusively makes use of nanoparticles from silicon.