Arthur Ashkin, a 96-year-old inventor and 2018 Nobel laureate for developing optical tweezers, works on a technology to produce clean and cheap energy. According to the scientist, mirror concentrators can replace solar panels and make a revolution in the energy sector. Australian Professor Martin Green, the 2018 Global Energy Prize laureate, convinced that such ideas were in demand in the 70s of the XX century.
The oldest Nobel laureate Arthur Ashkin believes that solar concentrators can become an alternative to solar batteries. His idea is to create a design of reflectors that increase the concentration of light and increase the power of solar panels. The scientist is sure that this invention will allow to receive “cheap as dirt” electricity that will solve a problem of environmental pollution and Ashkin will receive Nobel Prize for it the second time, according to the Science Alert edition.
Australian Professor Martin Green, who is called the father of photovoltaics, pointed out that at the current level of solar energy development and low cost for a solar cell (50 cents per 16 cm²) it makes no sense to develop a device with concentrators to replace solar batteries. Moreover, Green believes that the price of solar cells will continue to fall, and solar energy will dominate in the global energy balance in the future.“In the past, when solar cells were expensive, high radiation intensity was required to reduce maintenance costs. In today’s world, with a large number of manufacturers and high competition between them, the cost of panels and related equipment, as well as the solar energy itself is reduced so quickly that over the next decade it will be the cheapest option for almost all countries, even for cold Russia,” the Professor added.
Martin Green is one of the pioneers of photovoltaics. His contribution to this field is considered revolutionary. Green is the author of batteries with PERC elements (solar cell with passivated emitter and back surfaces). Today, the share of PERC in the solar cell market is 24%, according to various estimates, and it is expected that in a couple of years this figure will exceed 50%. The scientist intends to increase the productivity of his solar panels by another 50% and increase their life by more than 25 years. By 2040, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, total sales of solar cells using its technology could reach two trillion dollars. Martin Green received the Global Energy Prize in 2018 for research, development and educational activities in the field of solar energy.