An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from a Stanford news release: "Stanford engineers have figured out how to simultaneously use the light and heat of the sun to generate electricity in a way that could make solar power production more than twice as efficient as existing methods and potentially cheap enough to compete with oil. Unlike photovoltaic technology currently used in solar panels — which becomes less efficient as the temperature rises — the new process excels at higher temperatures. ... 'This is really a conceptual breakthrough, a new energy conversion process, not just a new material or a slightly different tweak,' said Nick Melosh, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering, who led the research group. 'It is actually something fundamentally different about how you can harvest energy.' And the materials needed to build a device to make the process work are cheap and easily available, meaning the power that comes from it will be affordable." The abstract for the researchers' paper is available at Nature.
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