New research suggests perovskite as cheaper replacement for silicon-based solar panels

Aug 16, 2013 by Bob Yirka weblog
solar cells

(Phys.org) —Researchers at Oxford Photovoltaics and other companies investigating the use of perovskite—a crystalline organometal—as a replacement for silicon in photovoltaic cells have created prototypes that are approximately 15 percent efficient. But this is apparently just the beginning. Kevin Bullis suggests in an article published this week in MIT Technology Review, that researchers are predicting efficiencies as high as 25 percent very soon, putting the material on a par with silicon.

Simply meeting the same efficiency levels as silicon isn't a big deal of course, other materials have been found that are capable of doing so as well, what's newsworthy here is that using perovskite to make would be far cheaper. Not only is it more readily available, but it doesn't require as much production cost. Also, cells that use it would require far less material. Silicon cells, for example, typically wind up approximately 180 micrometers thick. A comparable cell made using perovskite on the other hand would be just 1 thick.

Perovskite isn't some newly discovered material—scientists have known about it for over 170 years. What's new is that researchers are only now beginning to fully realize its potential as a material for use in . It was only in 2009 that researchers first thought of using the semiconductor in such cells—initial testing indicated that it was only 3.5 percent efficient. Worse, it didn't hold up for very long when used. But since that time, researchers have figured out how to make it last longer and have continuously improved its efficiency to boot.

Current prototypes are made using a process that involves spraying the material on a base, which means the material is far more versatile than silicon as well. But what really has researchers exited are expectations for creating solar panels far more cheaply than can be done today—estimates suggest they could cost just 10 to 20 cents per watt, as compared to 75 cents per watt for traditional silicon based panels—fossil fuels cost an average of 50 cents per watts, suggesting that the use of perovskite could cause a dramatic shift to solar power in the future if its efficiency can be improved as researchers hope.

Explore further: Transit-oriented development helps cities ease off the gas

More information: Oxford Photovoltaics: www.oxfordpv.com/photovoltaic-cell-technology.html

via MIT Tech Review

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User comments : 30

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hopper
1 / 5 (8) Aug 16, 2013
cool beans if true
djr
2.4 / 5 (8) Aug 16, 2013
One way or another - PV will become the cheapest source for electrical generation some time in the next few years (maybe decades) - then the cat is out of the bag. We live in exciting times.
Shakescene21
2.1 / 5 (7) Aug 16, 2013
Very exciting. I wish there was more data on the durability of perovskite pv cells. The cost and efficiency of solar panels is getting so good that durability is becoming the the critical factor.
I also wonder if there are any special problems in combining perovskite cells into multi-junction pv cells. With low cost and high efficiency of pv cells, multi-junction cells become more feasible.
Howhot
3 / 5 (4) Aug 17, 2013
Fantastic. When it is turned into product, it will be an exciting time. Eventually this will make an impact.
NikFromNYC
2 / 5 (21) Aug 17, 2013
The LA Times featured cold fusion in '89 before its initial debunking. Environmentalists were aghast! Their political support of obscure solar energy now is just a dodge as they attack real energy production, psychotically. It's the end of the world, but Greenpeace screams..."No nukes!"

"It's like giving a machine gun to an idiot child." – Paul Ehrlich (mentor of John Cook of the SkepticalScience blog, author of "Climate Change Denial")

"Clean-burning, non-polluting, hydrogen-using bulldozers still could knock down trees or build housing developments on farmland." – Paul Ciotti (LA Times)

"It gives some people the false hope that there are no limits to growth and no environmental price to be paid by having unlimited sources of energy." – Jeremy Rifkin (NY Times)

"Many people assume that cheaper, more abundant energy will mean that mankind is better off, but there is no evidence for that." – Laura Nader (sister of Ralph)
praos
1.8 / 5 (14) Aug 17, 2013
"perovskite—a crystalline organometal" ??!!
Gmr
2.9 / 5 (10) Aug 17, 2013
I like the idea of spray on coatings - if we combine this with printable, flexible transparent electronics and organic LED elements, you could have a solar-powered coating that would effectively allow you to change the surface of whatever it was sprayed on to any emitting color combination. Combine it with a capacitor and you could have surfaces that glow at night to light roadways without relying on reflectors.

I like living in the future.
alfie_null
2.2 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2013
The LA Times featured cold fusion in '89 before its initial debunking. Environmentalists were aghast! Their political support of obscure solar energy now is just a dodge as they attack real energy production, psychotically. It's the end of the world, but Greenpeace screams..."No nukes!"

Psychosis. Interesting choice of term.

So . . .
How long would you say you have felt persecuted by these "environmentalists"?
NikFromNYC
1.5 / 5 (17) Aug 17, 2013
How long would you say you have felt persecuted by these "environmentalists"?


I discovered Phys.org about a year ago and I use it throughout the day to take breaks as I micromachine 3D puzzle-like parts that lately I have been sputter coating with gold here in my fabrication studio down the street from Columbia University, where I make real products to sell using my laboratory background in genetics, organometallic and organic synthesis (of natural products and also precisely defined graphene units called helicenes), and my collaborative work with MIT during my three year postdoc with George Whitesides of Harvard.

And what do I find on Phys.org? The slander I don't mind, but alfie, you gotta put a lid on your death threat buddies if you want to win a debate:

http://tinypic.co...&s=5
http://tinypic.co...&s=5
http://s18.postim...AT_2.png
http://postimg.or...2d31dqv/
http://postimg.or...v2o8spmv
NikFromNYC
1.4 / 5 (18) Aug 17, 2013
alfie, the designation "psychopath" is based on a seasoned interpretation of the full length and quite liberal 2011 documentary "I Am Fishhead - Are Corporate Leaders Psychopaths?":

http://www.youtub...7hiHi1cE

...except today's corporate leaders are not deeply invested in green energy and green banking schemes that dwarf the exploratory carbon trading schemes of Enron.

The left wing journalist Alexander "Hot Cock" Cockburn, after providing a Murphy's Law essay on nuclear power, relates how Climatology members have indeed become dangerous to skeptics:

http://www.youtub...YenWfz0Y

If the likes of Cockburn, a veritable staple of radical left wing progressism had this to say shortly before he died, your side of the "debate" that suffers from there being "no debate" has some soul searching to do.
NikFromNYC
1.5 / 5 (16) Aug 17, 2013
Typo: "not deeply" -> "deeply"

Phys.org still deletes half of multi-link messages if you edit them, so typos multiply as you try to remember what got zapped before the three minute edit limit engages as you try to explain to alfie why regularly receiving unmoderated death threats throughout your work day indeed represents persecution, not just feelings of it. The "Report" button here wont work for us skeptics. Doesn't that bother you, alfie, that your side of the "debate" looks and quacks like Inquisition era priests? And if it doesn't bother you, what does that suggest about your own position on the empathy/sociopathy scale?

NikFromNYC
1.5 / 5 (15) Aug 17, 2013
An informative project to knit a model of perovskite is here:

https://www.faceb...eProject
http://www.surrey...ovskite/

Variations in this space group involve coordinated rotation of the octahedrons away from the ideal model.
NikFromNYC
1.5 / 5 (17) Aug 17, 2013
My last link above of alfie's partner in crime got cut off: http://postimg.or...o8spmvp/
SteveL
3 / 5 (6) Aug 17, 2013
I find it fascinating that the same philosophical mentality that brought us the ultra-conservative McCarthyism and socialist/communist Red Scare witch hunts of the early 1950's is now being espoused by the ultra-liberals against groups and individuals who don't meet the standards of their political litmus tests. It was wrong then, so what makes it right now?

Politics is like a dog I used to have that used to chase her tail. She would go around so fast that it was hard to tell the head from the tail. Seems one political party or another is the one with the brains or the one with the ass in seemingly quick alternation. Never the twain shall meet. -Kipling
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (11) Aug 17, 2013
Nik, I can confirm it is a personal bias of yours that "report" queries go unanswered only for you and your ilk.

Witness, many of your posts remain.

Back to science!
NikFromNYC
1 / 5 (15) Aug 17, 2013
Team Gmr indeed trashes sites like this via blanket activism, as if ratings and Report buttons are just an us-vs.-them video game. The whole crew at the now disgraced (bogus 97% consensus confirmation) SkepticalScience blog convene pathetic little activist huddles towards this very goal, as was revealed when their internal forum got splashed onto the Net after somebody noticed its files were incompetently placed in a public directory. Their formal abuse of moderation requests did work on many UK news sites, and the resulting lack of public skepticism helped pull England into the policy bubble that now places the US at a great advantage over all of green recessionary hangover Europe.
Gmr
2.7 / 5 (12) Aug 17, 2013
Nik, there is no cabal. There is no concerted effort.

There's just you, your apparent grandiosity, paranoia, and narcissism, and people who disagree with you, normally initially on cordial terms.

I'm one that would argue for responsible nuclear power as a transition from coal, oil, and methane based power plants as we continue to work on fusion. But we never get to that point of agreement because generally it appears massive amounts of self-importance get into the conversation, and it becomes less than cordial.

Mind you, I said I am "one." You could probably check with the administrators if you really think I'm a sockpuppet, complain about me directly, and send notes to whomever you wish. I'm not concerned about it because I know I'm just me, just this account.
hudres
3.4 / 5 (5) Aug 17, 2013
Once again, Phys Org gets it wrong. Perovskites are a class of minerals with a particular crystalline structure, not a single specific material. If some one only tried fact checking .......
Gmr
1 / 5 (7) Aug 17, 2013
Once again, Phys Org gets it wrong. Perovskites are a class of minerals with a particular crystalline structure, not a single specific material. If some one only tried fact checking .......


I do often wonder - since there appear to be articles here that vary widely in both quality and accuracy. If only there were different ratings - "Neat Subject! Five Stars! Terrible Reporting! One Star!"
Eikka
1.9 / 5 (9) Aug 18, 2013
If only there were different ratings


The ratings are next to useless because people aren't honest in giving them, just like they aren't honest in rating the commenters.

runrig
3.7 / 5 (3) Aug 18, 2013
There's just you, your apparent grandiosity, paranoia, and narcissism, and people who disagree with you, normally initially on cordial terms.


I can only add my agreement to this based on my experience.
After several posts pointing out his factual inaccuracies, I became an "asshole" and because my previous employer was the UKMO - it being at the forefront of the AGW scam (in his mind). I appreciate that being given "death" threats on here is unpleasant - but I am not one of them (actually there is only one IMO). But he should try to separate out the posters ( on the side of the science ) on here. Apparently the more one knows about the subject the more one is despised and obviously wrong. This is an ideological mindset - irrational and reactionary. A mindset that that is not new and must be countered for the sake of human development.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2013
I do often wonder - since there appear to be articles here that vary widely in both quality and accuracy.

Why do you wonder? PhysOrg is an aggregation site. It doesn't author any articles (and with the number of staff it has that would hardly be possible in any case).
If you google for the first sentence in each article you'll find the original, verbatim source.
Gmr
1 / 5 (5) Aug 18, 2013
I'm used to university press releases - and some of them appear to be - not that.
Gmr
1.7 / 5 (7) Aug 18, 2013
It's well known ... The level of expertise is directly proportional to professional bias. Can be solved with calling multiple experts into question and averaging their results.


Um, this is not the "well known expert effect." This is propaganda designed to laud the ignorant. There is no effect other than to find a way to discount expert opinion in the area of study. And analogies to doctors and mechanics aside, the behavior people undertake to "counter" experts runs counter to their own logic. If anything, to "counter" an expert you should deliberately eschew any knowledge of the subject - burn out areas of your brain that might have some previous opinion.

Run only on instinct. But instinct is actually thought that runs parallel to conscious thought...

So, lobotomy then? Complete cerebral-cortex-ectomy to achieve supreme intelligence? Relying on chickens or octopi to forecast disaster? I'm still trying to see the ultimate goal of this.
runrig
4 / 5 (4) Aug 18, 2013
apparently the more one knows about the subject the more one is despised and obviously wrong
It's well known "http://aetherwave...p.html). The level of expertise is directly proportional to professional bias. Can be solved with calling multiple experts into question and averaging their results.


From (2): "Why experts are usually wrong". Ahh right - so then by analogy ( if that were true - it's not ) then laymen are "usually right" ?

I see, lets turn the world and logic on it's head because us "right-minded, common-sense, god-a-fearing folk can see through your bullshit".
Do me a favour.
Yet again a philosophy/ideology is shown to be behind denialism.
Pkunk_
1 / 5 (9) Aug 19, 2013
alfie, the designation "psychopath" is based on a seasoned interpretation of the full length and quite liberal 2011 documentary "I Am Fishhead - Are Corporate Leaders Psychopaths?":

http://www.youtub...7hiHi1cE

If the likes of Cockburn, a veritable staple of radical left wing progressism had this to say shortly before he died, your side of the "debate" that suffers from there being "no debate" has some soul searching to do.

It's nice to see a real environmentalist for a change. Someone who actually wants to do something about environmental degradation. Rather than the usual global warming hysteria we have come to expect from most of the alleged "environmentalists"
While I still believe nuclear energy is necessary , I agree 100% with him on the issue that it's much more important to focus on the real environmental issues like pesticide runoff and land degradation.
We are losing our forests at an alarming rate while talking about useless issues like global warming.
Horus
1 / 5 (4) Aug 19, 2013
Climate change is directly tied to deforestation. If you can't see how the ecosystem is failing and the bifurcation of extreme temperature variance results then your own ignorance and claims of true environmentalism is no better than the evangelical wacko most reasoned minds despise.
antialias_physorg
1 / 5 (1) Aug 19, 2013
I'm used to university press releases - and some of them appear to be - not that.

Yeah. Some come from "science journalists" (and I can't really put as much contempt for that species down in text as I'd like)

I remember having that lot in to look at our haptics research. We showed them all the cool computer models, the haptic interfaces, how to interact and feel stuff on screen, 3D glasses for depth perception,... Gave them the background on the difficulties of getting all this to work on regular hardware and whatnot.
End of story: The article they wrote was mostly about how cool it was to HEAR when one touched a virtual object (which was just the friggin feedback motors buzzing).
rsklyar
1 / 5 (10) Aug 19, 2013
But MIT Technology Review never published how their "researchers" have already stole in Nature journals and, with further support of the Harvard's ones, in ASC Nano Lett both the ideas and money of taxpayers. There are numerous swindlers from David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Dept of Chem Engineering, also with Dept of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and School of Eng and Applied Science of Harvard University at http://issuu.com/...vard_mit .
Their plagiaristic "masterpieces" titled Macroporous nanowire nanoelectronic scaffolds for synthetic tissues (DOI: 10.1038/NMAT3404) and Outside Looking In: Nanotube Transistor Intracellular Sensors (dx.doi.org/10.1021/nl301623p) were funded by NIH Director's Pioneer Award (1DP1OD003900) and a McKnight Foundation Technological Innovations in Neurosc Award, also a Biotechnology Research Endowment from the Dep. of Anesthesiology at Children's Hospital Boston and NIH grant GM073626, DE013023, and DE016516.
SolidRecovery
1 / 5 (11) Aug 19, 2013
Once again, Phys Org gets it wrong. Perovskites are a class of minerals with a particular crystalline structure, not a single specific material. If some one only tried fact checking .......


The structure (A^2+B^4+X^2- 3) is based on the mineral CaTiO3 called Perovskite. When minerals were found later with the same crystalline structure they were grouped into Pervoskites.

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