CleanTech OC Daily - 5/24/12

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Inexpensive and More Environmentally Friendly Solar Cell Northwestern University researchers have created a new solar cell design that minimizes flaws seen in conventional solar cells. The inexpensive and environmentally friendly design does have relatively high up-front production costs, but less reliance on toxic and scarce materials. For more information on the design and construct of the Northwestern solar cell, check out the paper in Nature.

Khosla Ventures is now backing Liquid Metal Battery with a Series B round of $15M - the company already has Bill Gates and oil giant Total as investors. The startup, based in Cambridge, is developing a battery for the power grid using molten salt pressed between two layers of liquid metal.  The company believes that batteries based on liquid metal electrodes will be stable, scalable, and low cost enough that it could revolutionize grid storage.

BrightSource Energy’s 370-megawatt Ivanpah solar power plant has approx. 1,700 people at work and many are from California’s Inland Empire, where unemployment reached 15% at the height of the recession. The question remains, can the company further reduce costs and still build and maintain a strong workforce?

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