×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Harvard, IBM Crunch Data For More Efficient Solar Cells

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the better-than-the-sun dept.

IBM 65

Nerval's Lobster writes "Harvard's Clean Energy Project (CEP) is using IBM's World Community Grid, a 'virtual supercomputer' that leverages volunteers' surplus computing power, to determine which organic carbon compounds are best suited for converting sunlight into electricity. IBM claims that the resulting database of compounds is the 'most extensive investigation of quantum chemicals ever performed.' In theory, all that information can be utilized to develop organic semiconductors and solar cells. Roughly a thousand of the molecular structures explored by the project are capable of converting 11 percent (or more) of captured sunlight into electricity—a significant boost from many organic cells currently in use, which convert between 4 and 5 percent of sunlight. That's significantly less than solar cells crafted from silicon, which can produce efficiencies of up to nearly 20 percent (at least in the case of black silicon solar cells). But silicon solar cells can be costly to produce, experiments with low-grade materials notwithstanding; organic cells could be a cheap and recyclable alternative, provided researchers can make them more efficient. The World Community Grid asks volunteers to download a small program (called an 'agent') onto their PC. Whenever the machine is idle, it requests data from whatever project is on the World Community Grid's server, which it crunches before sending back (and requesting another data packet). Several notable projects have embraced grid computing as a way to analyze massive datasets, including SETI@Home."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Bitcoin (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093289)

Surely the biggest of all the grid computing projects, is Bitcoin, the money certified by California.

I'd mostly love to (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093315)

but it suddenly occurs to me ... am I using my idle cycles to provide some pharmaceutical company with more patents? Once this distributed computing program reaches its goal ... who will be making money? Should I worry about that/them?

Re:I'd mostly love to (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095025)

but it suddenly occurs to me ... am I using my idle cycles to provide some pharmaceutical company with more patents? Once this distributed computing program reaches its goal ... who will be making money? Should I worry about that/them?

For this project you'd be using your idle cycles to provide some solar cell company with more patents (probably a Chinese company too, since American ones seem to dead or dying). That's the problem with making universities use patents to fund themselves - it defeats the entire idea of open research that universities are supposed to be about. The Bayh-Dole Act [wikipedia.org] seemed like a good idea at the time (I supported it), but in hindsight it was a mistake. Let's get rid of it. I know that many university researchers hate it too, because the university "intellectual property office" pressures people to not publish too much, or to delay publication at least until the patents are filed. Here's a simple idea: universities shouldn't have intellectual property offices, and they worked fine (actually better) for centuries without them.

Re:I'd mostly love to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44095353)

No, no, no. You'll be using your cycles to help IBM obtain more patents. And, to quote the software EULA, "it is anticipated" (by whom, they don't say) that IBM will at some later date transfer the "World Community Grid" to some sort of not-for-profit entity. Maybe some struggling little school like Harvard; what hope do the Crimson have of increasing their endowment to $40 billion without our help? http://harvardmagazine.com/2011/09/harvard-endowment-rises-to-32-billion

Re:I'd mostly love to (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about a year and a half ago | (#44096459)

so some company gets rich while we have 10% or 30% less pollution....what's your problem?

Re:I'd mostly love to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44099747)

From the World Community Grid: "As part of our commitment to advancing human welfare, all results will be in the public domain and made public to the global research community." (From http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/about_us/viewAboutUs.do .)

In fact, the results are publicly available at http://cepdb.molecularspace.org/. Any company or individual can explore them and use them to make money. And as fair as I understand, you can't patent a molecule directly, you need to patent the procedure to produce it, and that it something this calculations don't tell you and that involves a fair amount of work.

Also, SETI... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093367)

Nice of them to mention that SETI has also "embraced" this. It's only the largest and one of the oldest public projects to utilize distributed computing, having lead the way in the development and popularization of the technology.

Re:Also, SETI... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093415)

This is also a SETI project - Search for Electronic Technology Improvements.

Re:Also, SETI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093725)

Aside from distributed problem solving as a concept for other researchers to use, I'm curious if SETI has actually accomplished anything besides waste electricity?

Re:Also, SETI... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094831)

Every project ever, in the history of the human race, has failed to produce results.... right up until it produced results. When you judge a project like SETI, the results of which can by definition only be put into perspective on a scale of centuries or millennia, based upon the observations of less than one human lifespan, you only display your own personal bias and ignorance.

But maybe you're right... maybe wasting cycles anonymously bashing community-driven projects that seek to answer some of the biggest and most profound questions that we as a species have ever pondered is a far more worthy cause than attempting to confront the unknown with what meager tools we have at our disposal. Maybe we should just quit because it's hard.

I guess it's a good thing that your forefathers didn't share your pitiful fucking attitude towards life, else your most pressing quandary of the day would likely be deciding which finger to stick up your ass and which to eat your grubs with.

Re:Also, SETI... (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093847)

The interesting thing about SETI it is one of those projects where the side effect technology is more important then their main research goal.
Scanning Space Radio signals trying to find Extraterrestrial life is in itself rather futile goal.

1. Radio Waves bounce off atmosphere. Sure it does get threw however most of our random singles from TV really get so bombarded by static that the waves data is nearly traceable due to the static from space. Even before we leave the solar system.

2. Radio is only used for a short period of time. We have been using radio for about 150 years, and for long range broadcasting it is getting much slimmer. As we have built an infrastructure to send most data without radio, we use radio for short range broadcasts. So say we have about 500 years of useful radio useage. In terms of tracing a society that is like a blip. So you need to find the star, with a planet, with life, who is intelligent, has an instinct to build stuff, figured they needed radio, happen to run across similar experiments to discover it, had the engineering mindset to make something out of it, used it over the alternatives, and hasn't outgrown it. This is slim pickings. If you think about it, it was said the burning of the Library of Alexandria set mankind back 500 years. Who knows how things would be different.

Re:Also, SETI... (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097461)

Radio bruges kun i en kort periode. Vi har brugt radio til omkring 150 år, og langtrækkende udsendelse det bliver meget slankere. Som vi har opbygget en infrastruktur til at sende de fleste data uden radio, bruger vi radio til kortrækkende udsendelser. Så siger vi har omkring 500 år af nyttige radio useage. I form af spore et samfund, der er som en blip. Så du har brug for at finde stjernen med en planet med liv, der er intelligent, har et instinkt for at bygge ting, regnede de havde brug for radio, tilfældigvis at køre på tværs lignende forsøg at opdage det, havde engineering tankegang at gøre noget ud af det, brugte det over alternativerne, og har ikke vokset det. Dette er slim forskningsdata. Hvis du tænker over det, blev det sagt afbrænding af Biblioteket i Alexandria set menneskeheden 500 år tilbage. Hvem ved, hvordan tingene ville være anderledes.

Public Good, Or Profit? (2)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094823)

"Nice of them to mention that SETI has also "embraced" this. It's only the largest and one of the oldest public projects to utilize distributed computing, having lead the way in the development and popularization of the technology."

Also, SETI@home and Folding@home, etc., use the BOINC infrastructure, not IBM's. You can be fairly certain that BOINC projects will not be used for corporate profit unless it's a corporation that is sponsoring the project.

Not necessarily so, using IBM's infrastructure. When have they ever done anything that wasn't for corporate profit. Hell, they even shipped Hollerith-type machines to the Nazis during WWII to help keep track of the prisoners in the concentration camps.

(And before you argue: YES, they did. It is solidly documented and there are records indicating that Thomas J. Watson personally knew about it.)

Re:Public Good, Or Profit? (1)

Kinwolf (945345) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097883)

Ahem, you know that IBM Wolrd Community Grid use the BOINC client too, right? And many of the projects there make available the results to every scientists that wants it. The CEP database itself is open to everyone to browse and consult.

Re:Public Good, Or Profit? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a year and a half ago | (#44098125)

"Ahem, you know that IBM Wolrd Community Grid use the BOINC client too, right? And many of the projects there make available the results to every scientists that wants it. The CEP database itself is open to everyone to browse and consult."

I did not know that, and I don't doubt it, but it matters little to me. If they use BOINC anyway, then what purpose do they serve?

My point was that for the most part I trust BOINC, but not IBM. I do not put it past IBM to lie, cheat, and steal as long as it makes them a profit.

Don't get me wrong: IBM has done some great things. And a lot of good research has come out of the Watson Research Center, for example. But it was also done for corporate profit, not for humanitarian reasons. Not that there is anything wrong with corporate profit either, as long as it is honest and socially responsible. In IBM's case, I will not assume that. I would have to be shown first.

Re:Also, SETI... (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097145)

Electric Sheep - screen saver is another distributed project

Why Efficiency? (3, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093565)

I don't understand why efficiency is so important - $/W seems a much more important measure, given that arid land area is cheap and sunlight is free.

Re:Why Efficiency? (4, Insightful)

kcbnac (854015) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093613)

Because if you can build one at 3% and one at 9% but all other costs being the same, you build the 9% one. They're figuring out which is the most efficient so they know what order to look at capabilities/options on. Start with the most efficient, and work your way down the list until you find one that meets the other criteria.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

kwerle (39371) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094597)

What's more, if your roof (for example) can only hold 20 modules, it may be worthwhile for you to get 9% of the energy even if it costs you 5 times what the 3% module would cost.

If you have unlimited space, limited funds, and limited power demands, then you go for the 3% solution.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

kcbnac (854015) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095007)

Also this way there is a globally-accessible and searchable database of all the materials and their various properties - so for your exotic project with a weird requirement, you can find the materials most appropriate to your situation.

This is useful for more than coming up with a single solar cell, it helps pave the groundwork for hundreds of varieties - each the best-fit for a different situation.

Example: Organic compounds may make sense if you can 'grow' the system for a self-repairing/expanding system, say in a biodome on Mars; or on a floating station in the Arctic; both of which you won't have an easy opportunity for a 'service call'. Identifying which one(s) work best in those environments will shave years off development time, allowing a focus on other design issues.

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093761)

Because they don't know the cost/watt yet? These are theoretical, not in production.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094077)

I don't understand why efficiency is so important - $/W seems a much more important measure, given that arid land area is cheap and sunlight is free.

I'd bet it's because the physical structure that holds the cells, along with site preparation, probably costs much more per square meter than the land itself. So a more efficient cell would directly lead to a reduction in $/W by minimizing this overhead.

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094869)

I don't understand why efficiency is so important - $/W seems a much more important measure, given that arid land area is cheap and sunlight is free.

I'd bet it's because the physical structure that holds the cells, along with site preparation, probably costs much more per square meter than the land itself. So a more efficient cell would directly lead to a reduction in $/W by minimizing this overhead.

Then you're calculating $/W wrong, because this cost should obviously be included. Of course $/W is meaningless if the $ part is only whatever fraction of the cost you feel like putting in a news article.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095205)

Then you're calculating $/W wrong, because this cost should obviously be included. Of course $/W is meaningless if the $ part is only whatever fraction of the cost you feel like putting in a news article.

You seem confused. I"m calculating $/W correctly because I did include all the costs, not just land. I explained how efficiency affects that. I didn't put anything into a news article.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

InterGuru (50986) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094457)

A large part of the total cost is the supporting structure, and the smaller the needed collector, the less the structure costs.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

Aighearach (97333) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094525)

$/W comes down as more people use a particular technology. So with this new information you can look at the basics, which of the better materials do you have available, which ones are you best at scaling, etc. From those basics you can make good choices about which will be best for you in the future. And most of the organic cells have the potential to be much cheaper than silicon... at scale.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094587)

given that arid land area is cheap and sunlight is free.

Rooftop area is a limited resource. Considering that many solar panels are installed on rooftops that limit is a factor.

Even if land area is cheap efficiency is still a major factor. If one designed a solar array that used an acre of cells that are 20% efficient one would have to use four time that if the efficiency was 5%. That would men four times the support structure to deal with the pannels. The land costs would be dwarfed by the costs of the installation of all those pannels.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095009)

very, very few places on earth are so populated that rooftops are the only place to put them. and those places are so populated the rooftops wouldn't cut it at 50% efficiency..

panel support is also part of the $/W equation.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095365)

Look at any suburb in the world and you will see that there are rooftops big enough to power houses using higher efficiency cells but not low efficiency cells.

Efficiency is part of the $/W calculation.

Another example of the importance of efficiency is use in mobile situations. Say you have a motorhome powered by solar panels. Say you need to set up and orient 1 2'x6' panel to power the rig of the panel was 20% efficient. Would you really want to do that with four 5% efficient panels? A cell phone charger that may be a foot square? Would it be as convenient if the panels was 2' by 2'?

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

GNious (953874) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095301)

Rooftop area is a limited resource.

No they're not - rooftops are all over the place.

An individual's rooftop may be limited, but from a societal point, we got shitloads of them, and could cover them in solar panels if we wanted to.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095439)

I guess you don't own a home. There is no way I would allow somone else to install panels on my roof to power their home.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

KingMotley (944240) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095827)

There is no way I would ...

No way? Not even for a billion dollars? Not even if someone held a gun to your head? To your wive's and/or children's heads?

Oh, I think there is more than one way.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year and a half ago | (#44096249)

None of those things would ever happen if someone wanted to put a pannel on my roof. Quit being an idiot.

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44097477)

You must not live in a third world country.

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094943)

Well, whatever is most important depends on the most constrained resource(s). If it's space, then conversion efficiency is probably important. If it's money, then $/W is important. I wouldn't spare a thought for $/W on the panels for a space station, for example.

Re:Why Efficiency? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094947)

Because Solar is total BS and the greens have to justify their existence. Carry on fools.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

G00F (241765) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095085)

Because installing solar panels, the panels themselves is only a small part. And much of the penels price is made up by things like shipping.

So if installation of solar panels cost 19k for 3% vs 20k for 9%, which one is the better choice?

Re:Why Efficiency? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44095285)

given that arid land area is cheap and sunlight is free.

LOL. Try actually computing how much land area is required to cover 1% of US electrical baseload given 20% solar panel efficiency and 600W - 1000W incident solar radiation per square meter on a perfectly sunny day in May (e.g. most optimal time of the year.)

You should quickly come to the realization that solar is a complete boondoggle, even at 100% panel efficiency.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095545)

LOL. Try actually computing how much land area is required to cover 1% of US electrical baseload given 20% solar panel efficiency and 600W - 1000W incident solar radiation per square meter on a perfectly sunny day in May (e.g. most optimal time of the year.)

FWIW, I once ran the numbers for the full load, assumed a magical 40% cell and it was still 1/4 of the entire land area of New Mexico, and that wasn't allowing for space between the panels for service or any failure rate.

When I mention this to naive people they say, "oh, that's not bad, we could still have 3/4 of New Mexico and a green economy!" completely failing to begin comprehending the scope of such a project, which far surpasses anything humans have ever tried to undertake. I should have calculated the labor costs involved using Great Walls of China as the unit.

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44096079)

Run your numbers again. They're off by about an order of magnitude.

Getting mixed up with a simplification (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#44098433)

Nobody is seriously suggesting 100% of ANY energy source unless they are a salesman or somebody that fell for the sales talk. The "can power all of whatever with this much" is just to make it easier for people to understand the large numbers, like all those examples with volkswagons, football fields or libraries of congress. There's too much variation to get more than rough numbers anyway so 1kW per square metre is as good as anything.

The driving factor for whether such things get used or not is how convenient they are to deploy. Solar thermal with enormous mirrors and a lot of water will probably cost very little per kW/h, but it takes a huge capital cost and a long time to produce something and it's going to be experimental with the chance of unexpected problems (just like modern nuclear). Little photovoltaic panels? You don't have an enormous capital cost up front if you only want a few. One goes down? You lost a few kW out of maybe a few TW of generating capacity in the grid. The costs for 100% supply by photovoltaics would be utterly insane but they still have plenty of uses. Base load is the easy stuff, covering an afternoon peak is where it's currently very expensive in power distribution (enormous thermal plants sitting idle most of the day is very expensive in terms of capital costs, while jet engines burning kerosene or natural gas is expensive in terms of fuel costs). A few photovoltaics means a bearable capital cost, zero fuel costs, and very low operating costs. Thus photovoltaics really should be compared with little gas turbines or diesel generators because they are in the same niche.

Outside their niche, such as the supply of an entire countries energy, they still suck, but so does any "one size fits all" solution.

Re:Why Efficiency? (3, Interesting)

Waffle Iron (339739) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095673)

LOL. Try actually computing how much land area is required to cover 1% of US electrical baseload given 20% solar panel efficiency and 600W - 1000W incident solar radiation per square meter on a perfectly sunny day in May (e.g. most optimal time of the year.)

You should quickly come to the realization that solar is a complete boondoggle, even at 100% panel efficiency.

Annualized average US power = 440GW. Your 1% of US power is 4.4GW. At 20% of 800W/m^2, that's 6800 acres, or about 10 square miles.

You seem to have a problem with that?

IIRC, about 1/6 of the 90,000,000 acres of corn grown in the US goes to silly schemes to make ethanol, which is 2000 times as much land as your example. That seems like a prime candidate to replace with far more efficient solar panels, especially if the areas with the most dire depletion of aquifers are reallocated first.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095539)

Consider cells for special applications, such as on satellites.

Re:Why Efficiency? (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097157)

because it directly affects the $/w figure.

Here's an example. I'll sell you a 10MB HD for $1000 or you can go to your local electronic retailer and buy a 1TB drive for $100. Which costs less per MB?

Re:Why Efficiency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44098237)

How about $/kWh? Are you trying to evaluate power or energy?

I'd hope they hope look for one easy to apply (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44093589)

Take a look around you, how many thousands of roofs are there that are doing nothing with that real estate?

Being able to put them to use as something besides a giant heat sink would do a world of good.

Am I being too cynical? (2)

tippe (1136385) | about a year and a half ago | (#44093877)

a 'virtual supercomputer' that leverages volunteers' surplus computing power

The first thing I thought when I read that was: "Fools. You're wasting your own energy to fund somebody else's patent portfolio (and wallet)." The idea that this might be a good idea or could forward some facet of science or could make the world a better place didn't even occur to me. I'm getting to be too cynical I think...

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094075)

If you're worried about wasting energy, do what I do - During the warmer months, turn off your idle machines, but during the cooler months when you need to heat your home anyway, fire up the distributed computing project of your choice.

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094235)

Consider that a lot of the volunteers might be installing WCG on work machines. "This job is a terrible waste of my life, but at least I can use some of my employer's money to do computations that might make solar cells better!" :D

Also consider that a significant portion of the "volunteers" are IBM employees. World Community Grid comes pre-installed on our work laptops, and over 10% of daily WCG contributions come from the IBM team: http://www.worldcommunitygrid.org/stat/viewStatsByTeamY.do?sort=points [worldcommunitygrid.org]

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44097497)

My boss once installed SETI clients on every single lab computer in the college. Essentially this results in the lab computers mostly doing SETI crunching. Save for a few students who might drop by to use Word every once in a while.

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44095401)

i'm a seasonal volunteer...
only in the winter that way i get some heating in return

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44095669)

Well I reacted exactly like you...

Re:Am I being too cynical? (2)

RicktheBrick (588466) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095967)

There are several problem with relying on volunteers. First one does not know for certain if the volunteer is going to return the finished work unit. So one must put a deadline on returning it. If one sends a work unit to one volunteer and they fail to return it before the deadline than one will have to send it to another and give another deadline. Since this pattern could repeat itself it is better to send the same work unit to more than one volunteer to ensure at least one is returned. In fact it is better when more than one volunteer returns the same work unit since than one can compare the results to ensure that they are the same. There are reasons why a incorrect work unit will be returned so one must be sure that they are correct. This clean energy project is very computer intensive. There are work units that require 40 hours or more. These units should not be given to someone who is just computing during idle times. Since if one has only one or two hours of idle time a day than the work unit will require between 20 to 40 days to complete. That is a long time to wait especially when one does not know for sure if it will ever be returned. When more than one have to do the same work unit than that means efficiency is at least cut in half. Now supercomputers are getting both cheaper and more efficient. They now are using a lot less power per calculations than any home computer. I have read that the best now can do a Giga flop per watt. The big question is "How much more energy will be used by sending the work to inefficient and multiple home computers than would be used by an efficient supercomputer?" One must also pay for the bandwidth to both send and receive the work units and the servers and the power to run the servers. I believe that the cost of purchasing and running a supercomputer is probably less than using volunteers. Except by using volunteers one using their electricity and requiring them to pay for it. Now if one could get the volunteers to donate money that they would pay for electricity and wear and tear than the use of a supercomputer would make a lot more sense. Now I say this and look at IBM's record since they do have computers that are doing the work units. In fact they lead all the volunteers by a large margin(over 45 million results to around 24 million for second place). I would think that IBM would use its money in the most efficient manner so maybe my concerns are not well founded. The federal government does give away time on supercomputers to scientist. Whoever is in charge must think this project is not worth the time. I would think that IBM could give enough prove of the value of this project that either the federal government would give a grant or that enough money would be provided by investors. Is the chance of success so low that IBM must require the donation of computing time to get this started? Will there be a return of any money to the volunteers if this is a success? Will a 1% take over the project once it succeeds and reap the rewards of all the volunteers?

Re:Am I being too cynical? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44100459)

The cynic response is actually : Because Department of Energy allocate all time and money to fission and fusion optimisation.

Summary (2)

lazarus (2879) | about a year and a half ago | (#44094047)

I've been on Slashdot for (what seems like) forever, and this article summary is probably the best I have ever seen. Well done Nerval's Lobster!

Sadly I have nothing intelligent to say about the content.

Re:Summary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44094535)

Too bad its a dupe

http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/13/04/16/231237/harvard-grid-computing-project-discovers-20k-organic-photovoltaic-molecules

Re:Summary (1)

ModernGeek (601932) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095719)

The headlines of today, including this one, are an order of magnitude better than the ones from the early 2000s.

Evolution (1)

jlebrech (810586) | about a year and a half ago | (#44095103)

Sounds like what happens in natural selection, have infinite potential solutions and just pick the most efficient.

Obvious solution (1)

Kardos (1348077) | about a year and a half ago | (#44096097)

So if we now know over a thousand compounds that convert at least 11% of the sunlight, then we should simply employ nine of the cheapest to achieve 99% conversion, solving the problem once and for all!

Panels just 1 part of the equation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44096209)

I just DIY installed solar panels on my roof and found that the cost of the panels are not that prohibitive. On a home roofing setup the big trend is toward microinverters and those things cost as much as the panels themselves. Add on racking, trunk lines, etc etc and the panels don't even account for 1/2 the cost of the system. It's even a less significant part of the equation if you have it installed for you. The installers are making a killing...

All told my BOM was around $6000 and the panels themselves only made up 33% of the total. I got an installation quote for $26k for the whole system. In that case the panels only made up 8% of the total.

It seems to me that there could be more effort put on other parts of the solar solution.

Here's my break down of my system.

13x Renesola 255W panels - $158/panel - $2054 total
13x Enphase M215 microinverter - $140/panel - $1820 total
Iron Ridge racking - $1000
Enphase Envoy - $480
Trunk cable - $400
10/3 #10 wire - $300
Misc stuff (Soladeck, trunk terminators, circuit breaker, flashing, etc) - $500
Permit - $400
A weekend of my time - priceless (but really like $1000)

hype! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44097033)

This project is hype and a total waste of computational resources. There is absolutely no point in correlating structural descriptors and OPV device performances (a cliche from medicinal chemistry) - take a look at the publications of this project, the results do not seem to point anywhere. Generating new donor polymer structures that should give high efficiencies according to the Scharber model is also a futile task: this model accounts only for roughly half of the necessary conditions for good photovoltaic performance (namely, energetic criteria), and still it does it in a very rudimentary, simplistic manner (not to mention that the error in estimation of the parameters of the model, the HOMO and LUMO energies, is so large that the results are only approximate). The other necessary conditions: processability and optimal phase separation in a blend are not touched at all. In summary, this project has very little to do with designing new organic photovoltaic materials.

Re:hype! (1)

datavirtue (1104259) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097517)

Dette projekt er hype og et totalt spild af it-ressourcer. Der er absolut ingen mening i at korrelere strukturelle deskriptorer og OPV enhed forestillinger (en kliché fra medicinalkemi) - tag et kig på de publikationer af dette projekt, har resultaterne ikke synes at pege nogen steder. Generere nye donor polymer strukturer, der bør give høje virkningsgrader i henhold til Scharber modellen er også en nytteløs opgave: denne model kun udgør omkring halvdelen af de nødvendige betingelser for god solcelle ydeevne (nemlig energiske kriterier), og stadig gør det i en meget rudimentære, forsimplet måde (for ikke at nævne, at fejlen i estimering af parametrene i modellen, HOMO og Lumo energier, er så stort, at resultaterne er kun omtrentlige). De øvrige nødvendige betingelser: bearbejdelighed og optimal fase separation i en blanding er ikke rørt overhovedet. Sammenfattende har dette projekt meget lidt at gøre med at designe nye økologiske solceller materialer.

Open Access (3, Informative)

godel_56 (1287256) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097047)

It's a condition of entry that all the results derived from grid computing work on World Community Grid, of which CEP is a sub project, must be made freely available to all researchers. That said, someone will have to go on and commercialize the work and so make a profit somewhere, but at least everyone gets an open go at it.

IBM do not own the results of this research, they're just sponsors of the central hardware and storage, and help with initial programming and set-up.

CEP is the only one of the World Community Grid projects that I don't crunch for as it has fairly onerous data transfer and computing requirements. It's a bit of a PITA.

waste of resources (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#44097051)

Being a scientist working on design of organic photovoltaic materials, I can only say that this is hype. A much worse hype than medicinal QSAR for designing new drugs. It is very unlikely that this project will lead to anything useful (the papers they published so far did not bring anything new or interesting).

Waste of time (1)

amightywind (691887) | about a year and a half ago | (#44097489)

Let these clowns waste their time. We are on the threshold of a new age of cheap energy with oil and gas fracking.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?