Researchers have created a device to produce electricity and steam at the same time. The system is said to offer 85.1% efficiency and deliver steam at up to 248 degrees Celsius. The converter combines III–V, triple-junction solar cells and a high-efficiency solar thermal system based on parabolic trough collectors.
A satellite launched from Florida last month has successfully unfurled its ‘solar sail’ in an early test of a new type of sunlight powered propulsion. The Planetary Society aims to demonstrate the technology as a viable way to propel small satellites, greatly lowering the cost of space exploration.