IBM and researchers from Harvard University have unveiled a new World Community Grid project designed to support the discovery of organic materials to create a more efficient and lower-cost solar cell.
The project will use idle computer power from volunteers to create large supplies of new clean energy. Current silicon-based solar cells are only about 20% efficient and cost about $3 per watt of electricity generated, IBM says. The researchers hope to discover and isolate organic molecules that, when combined, can convert more sunlight into electricity and thus produce solar cells much more inexpensively.
IBM will also pilot World Community Grid on a new IBM internal cloud – a network of services and software – when the cloud is not being fully used, in order to provide more computing power to the grid.