Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Berkeley Lab Scientist Heinz Frei Sees the Light on Solar Energy

Heinz Frei was working as a postdoc at UC Berkeley in 1980 when his mentor, the late George Pimentel, walked up to his desk. He just returned from a Department of Energy solar research conference where most presentations focused on ultraviolet light. Infrared, which makes up far more of the energy reaching the Earth, had hardly earned a mention. The real potential to exploit sunlight, said Pimentel, lies in this “long” end of the light wavelength spectrum. He asked Frei if he would set up a research group at Berkeley Lab to study this. He said yes on the spot.

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