Researchers develop novel technology for harvesting solar energy

March 1, 2016

Physicists at the University of Salford, along with 12 international partners, have launched a research project that aims to develop novel types of photovoltaic (PV) cell.

The cells will use so-called perovskite PV technology, which has the potential to be both low-cost and extremely efficient.

The €5 million project, entitled CHEOPS, aims to upscale promising initial trials of the technology to industrial and commercial levels.

The term perovskite photovoltaics refers to a novel class of materials, commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, with a special crystal structure that makes possible the fabrication of extremely efficient solar cells in a simple manner and at potentially low manufacturing costs.

Large-scale

Dr Heather Yates, principal investigator for the Salford CHEOPS project said: "As researchers, we may get excited when we achieve a new efficiency record with a small cell of about 1 cm2 but to prove this technology we need modules of at least 15cm2 and we need them to be stable.

"At Salford we will be employing a technique called Atmospheric Pressure Chemical Vapour Deposition to produce large-scale thin films which make up the perovskite cell. We will also consider how to produce films using tools, techniques and procedures that can readily be implemented in an industrial environment."

In addition to upscaling the technology, researchers will also produce tandem cells - with a perovskite cell on top of a conventional silicon-based cell. Such tandem cells can harvest a broader spectrum of light than a single cell, which should lead to an increase in their efficiency further approaching the 30% range.

In the longer term, existing manufacturing methods used for silicon devices might require only minor modification before being used to produce tandem cells, as the perovskite layer would simply be added on top of the conventional cell to act as an "efficiency booster".

Making renewables attractive

Added Dr Yates: "It is essential to continually improve the attractiveness of solar as a renewable energy source. Perovskite photovoltaic technology can be an important step in this direction and the team at Salford University are looking forward to sharing our findings with our academic and industrial partners.

In 2014, photovoltaic produced around 200 gigawatts of power, just 1 -2 % of global electricity demands.

Explore further: Perovskite photovoltaic module with eight percent conversion efficiency

Related Stories

Scientists develop pioneering new spray-on solar cells

August 1, 2014

(Phys.org) —A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield are the first to fabricate perovskite solar cells using a spray-painting process – a discovery that could help cut the cost of solar electricity.

Tandem solar cells are more efficient

November 23, 2015

Stacking two solar cells one over the other has advantages: Because the energy is "harvested" in two stages, and overall the sunlight can be converted to electricity more efficiently. Empa researchers have come up with a ...

Recommended for you

Samsung to disable Note 7 phones in recall effort

December 9, 2016

Samsung announced Friday it would disable its Galaxy Note 7 smartphones in the US market to force remaining owners to stop using the devices, which were recalled for safety reasons.

Swiss unveil stratospheric solar plane

December 7, 2016

Just months after two Swiss pilots completed a historic round-the-world trip in a Sun-powered plane, another Swiss adventurer on Wednesday unveiled a solar plane aimed at reaching the stratosphere.

Solar panels repay their energy 'debt': study

December 6, 2016

The climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday.

19 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

gkam
1.8 / 5 (5) Mar 01, 2016
Another nail in the coffin of nukes and oil. When most of us have electric vehicles, it will be over for the world domination by Big Oil. Bloomberg is already forecasting the end of future high oil prices, due to the propagation of EVs.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
Bloomberg is already forecasting the end of future high oil prices, due to the propagation of EVs
Well as you are a habitual liar and fact fabricator would you mind providing a link to this info?

Thanx.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
No.

And I suggest you stop the personal attacks.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
The barristers were very interested in the post where otto said good luck getting any more work now. 2013 was an important year in British Defamation Law.

I like the part where the defendant must prove his scurrilous accusations or pay up.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
Yes, quite.

Have you ever misrepresented your MS in life experiences as being something else, like environmental mgt, in order to get work?

Have you ever pretended to know the difference between am and fm, and then claim to be an EE in order to justify it?

These are things, along with so many other such things you have so generated here to be revisited for posterity with ease and fortwidth, that you should be prepared to explain to said bannisters I should think.

Shall you be representing yourself? Do you own a powdered wig perhaps?

I'm sure a guy like you has a powdered wig.
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Mar 01, 2016
Another nail in the coffin of nukes and oil.


You'll be kind enough to stop trying to bury nuclear energy when it could very well be the only kind of massive energy we would need for costy, long, perillous space missions, and when we still need researches on it to find a way to get rid of nuclear waste. Our past decisions were motivated by the amount of energy it gave us. We'll still need it for a long time before your beloved green revolution, if it ever happens.....because, you know, world domination and stuff....
Most families have troubles getting food and paying taxes at the end of the month. Don't expect them to be able to pay for EV's, since governments won't pay the price for em.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2016
When most of us have electric vehicles

Tell us, is your EV NOT drawing any power from the grid?
Is none of that power from fossil fuel and nuclear?
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
I think you misunderstand my position./ I can justify my opinion with numbers. Want to have a go? We can start with Hinckley and Vogtle, two nuke projects which already will cost at least twice and possibly as much as four times the price of power from alternatives.

We have had 60 years to "find" a way to even safely store that nasty stuff, stuff which will require armed guards for hundreds of thousands of years. You going to pay for that?
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016

"Tell us, is your EV NOT drawing any power from the grid? Is none of that power from fossil fuel and nuclear?"

Yup, and I am reversing that, aren't I? I provide my clean power during the daytime when the value is high, replacing the dirtiest of plants on peak and trade it for lower-value power I use at night. We get utility power from gas, nukes, hydro, geothermal, solar thermal, household and utility-scale PV, and other inputs. Again, when I generate, I replace the dirtiest.

I am cleaning up and improving my neighborhood and society. What are you doing?
antigoracle
1 / 5 (1) Mar 01, 2016
So, how much money are you getting paid by your power company?
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 01, 2016
Nothing. I give them no net power, I trade my peak power for whatever I use at any time. With the car, I do not over produce.

I like it - it's my field, remember? I had not planned for it to do so much, and only counted on 90% of household use, but it does much more already.
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Mar 02, 2016
We have had 60 years to "find" a way to even safely store that nasty stuff, stuff which will require armed guards for hundreds of thousands of years. You going to pay for that?


....what the heck? Going full Prophet of the Green, Toxic or Vogonic Future, now? Do you seriously expect nuclear waste to be uncleanable for that much time? It's the same as saying we'll never be able to reach other planets because we'll never ever find a fastest way to travel in space, or never be able to improve the way we cure cancer because it's too nasty to fight.
We won't be there in even hundreds of years, but i can bet we'll be able to do something more serious than just stocking nuclear waste. Us not being able to use or clean that? Nice joke. We'll need armed guards for many things. Nuclear Waste Storage? Not one of them.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2016
Well, you seem pretty sure of that, not being in the business. I suggest you look into it as a sure thing, long-term profession. We will need lots of you guys.

Look up Hanford babies, and Chernobyl Children to see what you have to work with.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) Mar 02, 2016
Do you seriously expect nuclear waste to be uncleanable for that much time?

Well, he's actually right on that one, since we're talking about a very basic physics-type process. You can't really cheat physics in a way to 'clean this up'. It's a lot like trying to move something faster than light. Currently there is no known way to do it (there's ideas how to get AROUND the problem - but that's a different story)

Banking on finding a way to break physics that has proven remarkably unbreakable (Realtivity) over the past 100 years is not really a sensible approach.

We won't be there in even hundreds of years,

Which is sort of the point. If your waste will outlast anyone who feels responsible for it - how is that a sensible approach to create it in the first place?

And anyway: Fission isn't sensible for long term space missions. You'd want fusion for that. It's hard to top off fission fuel in space. Fusion fuel is near ubiquitous.
gkam
1 / 5 (2) Mar 02, 2016
We had better start finding ways NOW:

http://enenews.co...+News%29
Edenlegaia
not rated yet Mar 02, 2016
Mankind evolved fast enough to find a way to go in space. Let's not forget we were pretty sure the Earth was flat, above the skies were a holy kingdom and flying was birds, angels and witches's stuff few hundreds of years ago.
I remain sure we'll be able to find something waaaaay before the prophetized hundreds of thousands of years. Personnal opinion, of course, but i take the curiosity of our kind as a basis to such affirmation.
tekram
not rated yet Mar 06, 2016
By 2020, some electric cars and SUVs will be faster, safer, cheaper, and more convenient than their gasoline counterparts. What if people just stop buying oil? In the first episode of our animated series, Sooner Than You Think, Bloomberg's Tom Randall does the math on when oil markets might be headed for the big crash.
http://www.bloomb...tric-car
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 06, 2016
Currently there is no known way to do it (there's ideas how to get AROUND the problem - but that's a different story)


There is the idea of bombarding nuclear waste with neutrons to speed up the decay by several orders of magnitude in a sub-critical reactor. What's missing is a cheap and powerful particle accelerator.

And of course there's deep borehole disposal, which can fit all the nuclear waste we have in a handful of 5 mile-deep holes. That's under trials right now, allthough there's a bunch of NIMBYs trying to stop the tests even though they're not even using real waste - just drilling holes.

The thing is, the waste already exists and something has to be done with it - a solution will be found one way or another - and when that solution is accepted then the problem is solved. People like gkam simply try to do everything to stop that, because losing the nuclear waste means losing his main argument against nuclear power. That's why no solution can be good enough
Eikka
not rated yet Mar 06, 2016
It's a curious game, because you can keep playing it forever: when you picket against the problem AND the solution, you can keep playing the hero for as long as you want.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.