Wide-Bandwidth MEMS-Scale Piezoelectric Energy Harvester

Problem: -Narrow band-width and poor robustness of traditional PZT energy harvester -Low harvested power density of traditional PZT energy harvester Technology: This invention provides a wide-band resonating thin film PZT MEMS energy harvester that harvests energy from parasitic ambient vibration with a wide range of amplitude and frequency via piezoelectric effect. The new design utilizes […]

Unconventional Nitride-on-Si Substrate Structures

Problem: GaN grown on Si substrate have high leakage current and limited breakdown voltage due to conducting Si substrate. Technology: This invention introduces three new GaN-on-Si substrate structures that increase nitride transistor breakdown voltage, reduce device leakage, improve nitride material quality and potentially produce free standing GaN wafers. The new substrates use three different structures […]

Three-Dimensional Photovoltaic Apparatus and Method

Problem: -Limited energy conversion efficiency of flat panel solar cells -Diurnal variation of the sun light incident direction Technology: The 3D shape of solar cells with a given area footprint and their total volume can be optimized to achieve maximum energy production and provide power fairly evenly throughout the day. The optimization considers light reflection, […]

Thermally-Actuated Gas Lift Safety Valve: Apparatus and Operational Procedure

Problem: Danger of oil passing from the tubing into the annulus (backflowing) when the reverse-flow check valve opens or has leaks. Technology: This invention proposes the design of a thermally-actuated gas lift safety valve that prevents oil backflow. In a correctly-operating gas-lifted oil well, gas is pumped down the well annulus, passes through a gas […]

Swirl-Counter-Swirl Microjets for the Thermoacoustic Instability Suppression

Problem: -The extent of the flame along the longitudinal axis of the combustor -NOx emissions of the combustor Technology: The invention provides a passive method of mitigating high-amplitude, discrete-frequency, self-sustaining pressure oscillations within a certain window of operating conditions for a swirl stabilized combustor operating in the lean premixed mode. In the current design, fuel […]

Superwetting Surface for Diminishing Leidenfrost Effect

Problem: Limited heat flux of conventional two-phase cooling solutions due to the Leidenfrost effect Technology: The invention provides new superwetting nanostructures that can fundamentally alter droplet-surface interactions to continuously rewet the surface and prevent vapor film formation. Micro-scale square posts can be fabricated on silicon wafers with a regular micro-electromechanical system process, photolithography followed by […]

Stacked Controlled-Cell Power Conversion Architecture for Grid-Connected Photovoltaic Systems

Problem: -Low extracted energy of current MPP operation of a series- or parallel- connected set of PV cells -Energy loss due to cell-current mismatches Technology: The invention provides a new architecture to assemble PV cells to yield the optimal energy output. An integrated circuit switched-mode MPP controller is connected to each cell, forming a ΓÇ£controlled […]

Solar Photovoltaic Cells based on Silicon Membranes with Periodic Holes

Problem: Poor infrared absorption of crystalline silicon Technology: Theoretical investigations reveal that optical coupling becomes better as the fill fraction decreases in both nanohole and nanorod arrays as a result of the smaller optical density. In all cases, the nanohole arrays show better light coupling than nanorod arrays or homogenous silicon film. The optimal fill […]

Site Selection for Hillside Central Receiver Solar Thermal Plants

Problem: Despite the precedence of utilizing hillsides as sites for heliostat fields and the advantages of hillside heliostat fields with ground-level receivers (e.g., elimination of tower capital costs, reduced capital and operations costs of high pressure pumps, etc.) no tools exist for locating suitable sites. Technology: The purpose of this invention is to locate suitable […]

Recycling of Compound Semiconductor Photovoltaics by Means of Ambipolar Eletrolysis

Problem: -Toxicity and environmental impact of Cd and Te, which is widely used in thin film solar cells -Multiple steps required by current recycling methods Technology: The invention provides a new method to recycle compound semiconductor materials used in the photovoltaic industry using ambipolar electrolysis (AE). The proposed process selectively dissolves the semiconductor material off […]