MIT's 'Clean Energy Accelerator' is Making Solar Cheaper, Cleaner, More Efficient (Video)


Photo credit: langalex via Flickr/CC BY

Much of the world is impatiently waiting for clean energy to get more affordable and more efficient. Renewable power advocates eagerly await the day when technologies like solar and wind reach 'grid parity' in mainstream markets. This is already happening: The cost of manufacturing solar photovoltaics, for instance, is plummeting, and efficiency is consistently improving. Even so, the folks at MIT are hoping to speed up the process with an intriguing new approach to uncovering cheaper and better-working clean energy technologies.

Its Engineering Systems Division is leading an effort that seeks to "accelerate the discovery and scaling of new energy technologies". The lab uses complex algorithms to uncover the combinations of materials, configurations, and processes that will make clean energy cheapest and most efficient. Sound complicated? It kind of is.

But luckily, Jessika Trancik, an assistant professor of Engineering Systems at MIT who is heading up the effort, was on hand at Poptech 2011 to explain. She agreed to sit down for an interview and discuss how MIT is revolutionizing the process of making clean technologies more efficient. Watch:

Trancik is a Poptech Science Fellow.

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