Researchers claim potential improvement in solar cell efficiency

perovskite-solar-cell-silicon-tandem-photovoltaic-efficiency-MIT-Stanford-University-EDIWeekly

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University are reporting an advance in solar cell technology that could significantly improve the efficiency of photovoltaic cells in harvesting the sun’s energy. The researchers reported in the journal Applied Physics Letters that their prototype solar cell has the potential to surpass 35 per cent efficiency. The current maximum efficiency for photovoltaic cells is around 25 per cent. The power efficiency is the percentage of sunlight’s energy that is converted to electricity. The solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency is the technical variable that most strongly influences silicon photovoltaic module costs, the researchers write.

The MIT cell is made with a layer of silicon, as is common in solar panels, but adds a transparent layer of perovskite, creating a tandem solar cell in which the two different layers absorb different portions of sunlight. Perovskite, the researchers say, absorbs higher-energy particles of sunlight. Unlike an earlier model, in which the two layers operated, and had to be wired, independently of each other, the new version operates like a single silicon cell, with a single electrical control circuit.

Increasing the power efficiency of the prototype remains the major challenge, as it is limited by the capacity of the lesser of the two layers. The proof-of-concept solar cell was able to achieve a power output of “about the same” as would be produced by a conventional solar cell, about 13.7 per cent. While this leaves much to be desired, the researchers say they have already identified ways of increasing that output to 30 per cent, and ultimately to 35 per cent.

Another major challenge lies in the perovskite itself, a crystalline organometal mineral that is abundant in geological deposits around the world, and can be produced inexpensively in the lab. A statement from MIT on the new work explains that the material degrades quickly in open air and must therefore be modified to improve its durability or encapsulated to prevent exposure to air. This must be done without adding to manufacturing costs or compromising performance.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • Green building technology to grow annually by 10.12% to the year 2023
  • Manufacturing slowdown reflects oil and dollar declines
  • Ontario Local Food Bill hailed by farm/food groups
  • Wind capacity reaches 82,183 megawatts in US, enough to power 24 million homes
  • Manufacturing sector rebounded in February: Statistics Canada
  • Ethical Concerns Rise Over the Future of Autonomous Vehicles
  • Magna unveils newest concept car, posts strong Q4 profits
  • Manufacturing grew in August; oil industry to lose $2.1 billion in 2015
  • New MRO operation rising in former Aveos plant
  • First wood frame mid-rise construction in Toronto will be condos
  • Valve industry in growth mode as LNG prospects grow brighter
  • Large investment in Toronto biotech company could lead to new therapies for heart patients
  • Manufacturing index rises, conditions "robust" in October: RBC
  • 7 Award winners honoured for championing ontario's environment's zero-waste, low-carbon initiatives
  • Ontario government accepts mining report recommendations
  • Renewable energy use increased in US in 2012
  • Ozone-Destroying Emissions Rising Unexpectedly, Scientists Baffled
  • Beam me up, Scotty. Teleportation is small step closer: researchers transport photon 500 kilometers: Micius satellite
  • Industry-academic R&D cooperation to boost Ontario's aerospace sector
  • Bombardier, Air Canada Jazz taking part in European MRO event
Scroll to Top