Solar Technology

Solar beats nuclear at many potential settlement sites on Mars

May 10, 2022

Rendition of colony on Mars

An artist’s rendering of a crewed Martian biomanufactory powered by photovoltaics and capable of synthesizing food and pharmaceuticals, manufacturing biopolymers and recycling biological waste. (Artwork credit: Davian Ho, UC Berkeley)

The high efficiency, light weight and flexibility of the latest solar cell technology means photovoltaics could...

The Secret to Renewable Solar Fuels Is an Off-and-On Again Relationship

July 21, 2020

analysis of copper ore

From alum Walter Drisdell's lab at LBL: new research published in the journal ACS Catalysis exams experiments performed vis X-ray spectroscopy on working solar fuel generator prototypes to demonstrate that catalysts made from copper oxide are superior to purely metallic-origin catalysts when it comes to producing ethylene, a two-carbon gas with a huge range of industrial applications – even after there are no detectable oxygen atoms left in the catalyst.

UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab will one day make windows work like solar panels

January 29, 2018

Peidong YangA breakthrough by Peidong Yang could one day help tall buildings use dramatically less energy, by using their windows to generate electricity. For the full story visit ABC7 News.

Omar Yaghi wins BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences

January 23, 2018

Omar YaghiThe BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Basic Sciences category goes, in this tenth edition, to Jordanian-American chemist Omar Yaghi, “for his pioneering work in the conception and synthesis of new...

Harvesting solar fuels through a bacterium’s unusual appetite for gold

October 5, 2018

CRISPR/Cas12a system. Photo courtesy C&EN, Illusciences.

M. thermoacetica first made its debut as the first non-photosensitive bacterium to carry out artificial photosynthesis in a study led by Peidong Yang, a professor in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry. By attaching light-absorbing nanoparticles made of cadmium sulfide (CdS) to the bacterial membrane exterior, the researchers turned M. thermoacetica into a tiny photosynthesis machine, converting sunlight and carbon dioxide into useful chemicals.

Water harvester delivers fresh water from air

June 8, 2018


Markus Kalmutzki, Farhad Fathieh and Eugene Kapustin set up the water harvester. (Stephen McNally photo)A UC Berkeley team headed by Omar Yaghi plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home in Arizona and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight.

Artificial leaves to produce fuel on Earth and, one day, Mars

January 24, 2018

Matt Damon, Mars movieWith the right technology, the gas station of the future will make its own fuel directly from sunlight, in the process sucking up carbon and producing oxygen. Decades into the future, the same technology could provide fuel and oxygen for the first Martians, and could even be tweaked to produce fertilizer....

Chemists create tinted windows that also generate electricity

January 23, 2018

Peidong YangPeidong Yang, a professor of chemistry and faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab, and his colleagues have tweaked the chemical structure of perovskite — a versatile material that already rivals silicon-based solar cells — so that the material turns from transparent...