Soaking up the sun with artificial intelligence

The sun continuously transmits trillions of watts of energy to the Earth. It will be doing so for billions more years. Yet, we have only just begun tapping into that abundant, renewable source of energy at affordable cost.

Solar absorbers are a material used to convert this energy into heat or electricity. Maria Chan, a scientist in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, has developed a machine learning method for screening many thousands of compounds as solar absorbers. Her co-author on this project was Arun Mannodi-Kanakkithodi, a former Argonne postdoc who is now an assistant professor at Purdue University.

“According to a recent DOE study, by 2035, solar energy could power 40% of the nation’s electricity,” said Chan. ​“And it could help with decarbonizing the grid and provide many new jobs.”ivering utility to warfighters at the tactical edge. This is a huge milestone of bringing a modern software infrastructure to the operational fleet of the Air Force.”

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