KC McGinnis | December 8, 2016
Iowa Hawkeye swim alum Andrej Lenert has received recognition for his innovative work on solar energy.
29-year-old Lenert, who swam for the Hawkeye swim team from 2004 to 2008 and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Michigan, was recognized by Forbes for helping develop a new approach to harvesting solar energy that could harness additional wavelengths normally lost in the collection process. This could drastically improve solar energy efficiency, far surpassing the theoretical limit on the energy-conversion efficiency known as the Shockley-Queisser limit, which is set at 33.7%, to as much as 80% efficiency.
This hybrid solar power system works by effectively filling in the gaps between wavelengths that are normally not collected in the solar energy process. Lenert and a team at MIT team developed a material that emits these missing wavelengths as it reacts to sunlight before it hits photovoltaic cells in the solar panel.