Thursday, May 1, 2014

Promising New Solar Material To Achieve High Efficiency At Low Cost

On March 26 I had talked about a new material, perovskite, that Nanyang Technological University has researched to use it as solar at day and light panel at night.

Now researchers at National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), U.S.A., are analyzing perovskite to be a potential low cost, high efficiency, solar material. What makes perovskite device structures so remarkable is that when processed in a liquid solution, they have unusual abilities to diffuse lights a long distance through the cell, this means more time for the material to absorb the lights which translates to higher efficiency. Also, perovskite-based solar material is very easy to fabricate using liquids that could be printed on substrates like ink in a printing press, or made from simple evaporation. These properties suggest an easy, affordable route to solar cells. All theses indicate a potential for low-cost, high-efficiency devices.

The picture on the left shows a NREL's researcher applying a perovskite precursor to make a perovskite film.

Perovskite's efficiency has grown from 3.8% in 2009 to 16.2% now. That's better than a four-fold increase. By contrast, efficiencies of single-crystal solar cells grew by less than 50% during their first 5 years of development.

The theoretical maximum efficiency of a perovskite-based solar cell is about 31%. Several companies are already interested in forming cooperative research and development agreements so they can work with NREL on perovskite.

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