The Russian News and Information Agency released a story by Yuri Zaitsev (click the link above to read). Therein he nicely summarizes the need for space solar power and the evolution of photovoltaic cells that collect and convert solar power into electricity. What is most interesting is that he asserts that by using pure quartzites (citing, “The largest deposits of very pure quartzites are found in Russia, which had vast reserves of them”) that:
Recently the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, near Moscow, developed a photo cell with an efficiency of almost 50%. Scientists describe their product as a “star battery.” It is an example of how nanotechnology can improve the workings of well-known processes.
Keep in mind that every improvement in efficiency along the collection-delivery pathway improves the business case.
This begs two questions:
1. What are the technical implications of ~50% efficient cells?
2. Does this signal cooperation or competition with the Russians?