New generation of solar cells contributes to the Green Revolution

Dec 2, 2020 02:25 PM ET
  • The European Union is identified to carry out a major reform known as the European Green Deal with a goal of making Europe the very first climate neutral continent in 2050.
New generation of solar cells contributes to the Green Revolution
Image: TalTech

The most significant modifications will happen in the power production sector, which depends on the brink of a complete transition to renewable energy sources, consisting of solar energy. To enhance the power result of solar cells to a terawatt-scale, modern technologies that leave a smaller environmental footprint, are much more effective as well as offer a broader range of applications require to be established alongside with the first-generation silicon-based solar cells presently dominating in the solar cell market.

TalTech's photovoltaic materials and optoelectronic materials physics research groups released a post in the journal Solar Energy titled "The effect of S/Se proportion on the homes of Cu2CdGe( SxSe1-x) 4 microcrystalline powders for solar applications," which focused on the advancement of the new generation monograin layer solar cells.

Among the authors of the post, Head of the TalTech Laboratory of Photovoltaic Materials, Senior Researcher Marit Kauk-Kuusik claims, "Unlike the extensive silicon-based solar panels, the next-generation solar cells are made of really slim layers of material. To develop such solar cells, semiconductors with great light-absorbing homes must be utilized. As is known, light absorption in silicon is rather inadequate, thus requiring relatively thick absorber layers, which make solar cells heavy as well as stiff. Our study focused on the evaluation of the possible applications of the Cu2CdGe( SxSe1-x) 4 semiconductor in the production of solar energy. In this research study, we concentrated on the impact of sulfur/selenium (S/Se) proportion on the optoelectronic properties of the absorber product in order to optimize the spectral level of sensitivity array."

Solar cell works with the principle of photovoltaic or pv impact, i.e. energy can be created directly by light. A solar cell absorber need to have the ability to absorb light as successfully as feasible, specifically to harness the complete spectrum of wavelengths in solar radiation. Furthermore, the absorption coefficient of the absorber product should be as high as possible, which implies that already an extremely thin layer of the absorber need to soak up all the case light. This in turn indicates that much less material is needed to create an absorber than in case of a lower absorption coefficient. Consequently, while absorbers made from silicon, which is a product with a reduced absorption coefficient, are 150-200 μm thick, the layers of modern-day absorber products based upon monograin powders can be 5-10 times thinner (i.e. 10-30 μm thick). It additionally immediately lowers the weight of the solar cell.

Lower weight of solar markets additionally implies a decline in product usage, which is certainly not of minor relevance in our current age of boost in environmental awareness and environment-friendly revolution. "It is necessary to consistently search new choices to the existing silicon-based solar cells made use of for years," Marit Kauk-Kuusik states. The trend is in the direction of ecological kindness and also overall sustainability. Along with minimized product consumption and weight, the new options are likewise far more innovative. The key words are still high-performance, agility, flexibility and toughness.

While traditionally expensive vacuum dissipation or sputtering innovations have actually been extensively made use of to produce solar cells, the special monograin powder technology applied by TalTech product researchers does not require any high vacuum devices. Microcrystalline powder is manufactured by molten salt approach in quartz ampoules in an unique chamber heater. The mass acquired is cleaned and sieved right into narrow dimension portions by an unique sieving system and the manufactured top notch microcrystalline powder, monograin powder, is used for the manufacturing of solar cells.

Marit Kauk-Kuusik says, "The monograin powder generated by our powder technology includes microcrystals that develop mini solar cells in a large module. This provides major advantages over silicon-based solar panels: the product is lightweight, adaptable, can be semi-transparent, while being environmentally friendly and also substantially less costly."

Eco-friendly energy production has actually ended up being vital in the light of the environment-friendly transformation and also sustainable intake. Renewable energy, where solar power plays an increasingly significant duty, is a vital key phrase right here.

"The power conversion effectiveness of the solar cell established as a result of our research is 6.4%, which is world greatest published efficiency for Cu2CdGe(SxSe1-x)4 based solar cells and also a little greater than that of the globe's initial, silicon-based cell developed decades back. Therefore, it is an appealing result," Kauk-Kuusik claims. She is additionally convinced that, unlike with this innovation, it will no longer take 30 to 40 years to accomplish higher power conversion effectiveness, as held true with the silicon, but results in scientific research will be attained in a much shorter amount of time.

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