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article imageSolar cell world efficiency record broken

By Tim Sandle     May 1, 2017 in Technology
Investment, in terms of time, money and scientific endeavor continues to rush into solar power as the push for renewable energy continues. In terms of scientific progress, a new record has been set for solar cell efficiency
For many researchers interested in clean energy derived from cheap alternative sources solar power is the most promising. One institution focusing on solar power is The University of Toledo. Here scientists have been studying perovskite solar cell technology as a replacement for conventional solar cells containing silicon.
A perovskite solar cell is a form of solar cell containing a perovskite structured compound. This is typically a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, used as the light-harvesting active layer. Perovskite is a compound material with a special crystal structure and the materials have good superconductivity and magnetoresistance. In addition, perovskite materials like methylammonium lead halides, are among the most appropriate materials. These are inexpensive to produce and simple to manufacture. Moreover, they appear to offer superior energy efficiencies to silicon based solar cells.
One concern with all solar cells and the area that receives a great deal of research attention is solar cell efficiency. This stands at around 10 percent for standard cells. Efficiency relates to the amount of energy converted and stored in relation to the amount of sunlight collected.
To enhance the efficiency of perovskite solar cells, a research group from the University of Toledo have fashioned an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that can bring together two different solar cells. This increases the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum. The efficiencies demonstrated are in the region of 18 percent. Not only is the efficiency relatively high, the materials used are non-toxic and they are inexpensive to produce.
The lead researcher, Dr. Yanfa Yan, said in a research note: “Metal halide perovskites can effectively harvest sunlight and efficiently convert it into usable electrical power.”
Outlining the advantages, he adds that the cells “have the potential to be used for fabricating cheap and highly efficient solar cells. Perovskite photovoltaic technology has attracted tremendous interest in the past several years.”
The research details are published in the journal Nature Energy. The paper is titled “Perovskite ink with wide processing window for scalable high-efficiency solar cells.”
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