Currently, the United States meets the majority of its energy needs by burning fossil fuels. Alternative energy sources are not a new technology, but with the rising cost of fuel, more research is being funded to develop cleaner, cheaper versions of existing alternative energy.
Solar power has long been a rather inefficient source of power yielding only 5-15% electrical generation from the rays that hit the solar panel. Recent developments by Alvin M. Marks may turn that efficiency into 70-80%. Marks believes he has developed the technology needed to boost the amount of power we can receive from a particular type of solar panel. He holds the patents on two materials named Lepcon and Lumeloid. The recipes for the materials are secret, but it involves conductive polymers applied to cheap strips of plastic. This technology could lower the cost involved in producing energy from the sun’s rays. Preliminary work has begun and we may see his ideas in production in 2-3 years. More information on Alvin Marks’ research.
Recent environmental concerns are beginning to garner support from some heavy hitters. Intel has announced plans to team together with a subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Solon AG and the PCG Clean Energy and Technology Fund to construct an advanced solar energy manufacturing plant in Oregon. The new company SpectraWatt will work to develop advanced solar technology to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency of current solar technologies. More information on Intel’s solar plans.