Startup Sunday: Crowdfunding for solar cell power boosting tech

Diverging estimates of renewable energy installed


This week’s Startup Sunday offers three potentially disruptive innovations in solar, electric vehicles, and more.

Crowdfunding solar cell innovation

IntriEnergy launched an investment campaign for its solar cell technologies through the crowdfunding platform StartEngine.

The Florida-based company offers a three-step technology that it said can boost conventional solar cell production by up to 60%.

Rooftop solar in Boston.

Image: NREL/SunPower

First, it applies an anti-reflective coating to the cell. Then, a silicon carbide cell technology is integrated, which the company said can absorb a much longer band of the light spectrum than typical silicon cells. Finally, it installs “quantum dots” into the cell, which offer an additional 10% boost in production by optimizing current mobility.

IntriEnergy said it offers an advantage in energy density to drive down the cost of producing energy. It said this can be especially valuable in space-constrained urban areas and on rooftops.

Concentrating on concentrated solar power 

Heliogen is moving forward to build a 5 MW demonstration concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in California for Australian oil and gas company Woodside Petroleum. The AI-backed CSP plant is designed to use vision software to precisely angle mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a single target, enabling high-temperature energy storage.

Image: Heliogen

Image: Heliogen

Heliogen said the commercial-scale facility can provide heat capable of replacing fossil fuels in industrial processes, targeting cement, steel, and petrochemicals.

The two said they plan to jointly market Heliogen’s modular CSP technology in Australia and the United States.

Aptera’s final alpha

EV startup Aptera announced the Luna model of its solar electric vehicle. San Diego-based Aptera now moves to the beta phase of development, with eyes on deliveries in 2022.

The latest design features a silver exterior and earth-toned interior. Aptera said the vehicle has a range of up to 1,000 miles, thanks in part to diamond-shaped solar cells on the roof that can provide 700 W of power.

The spaceship-like Luna looks out-of-this world; it had a cameo role in the reboot of Star Trek. Watch here:



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