Thursday, April 25, 2013

Harvard Global Grid Computing Project Will Help Create Printable Solar Cells

Computerworld (04/16/13) Lucas Mearian

In June, Harvard University's Clean Energy Project will release a list of the top 20,000 organic compounds that could be used to make inexpensive, printable photovoltaic cells (PVCs).  The list could lead to PVCs that cost about as much as paint to cover a one-meter square wall.  "We're in the process of wrapping up our first analysis and releasing all the data very soon," says Harvard professor Alan Aspuru-Guzik.  The Clean Energy Project uses the computing resources of IBM's World Community Grid for the computational chemistry to find the best molecules for organic photovoltaics.  The project is using the surplus processing power of about 6,000 computers around the world to develop the list of photovoltaics that could be used to create inexpensive solar cells.  Over the past few years, computational chemists have identified a few organic compounds with the potential to offer about 10-percent energy conversion levels.  "Through our project, we've identified 20,000 of them at that level of performance," Aspuru-Guzik says.  Harvard also has built data storage facilities to capture the results of the computations.  Each molecular computation produces about 20 megabytes of data, and the global grid computing architecture generates about 750 gigabytes of data a day.