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Flexible solar cells printed like newspapers are revolutionizing solar energy: High efficiency and versatility for diverse applications

Written by Noel Budeguer
Published 11/07/2024 às 07:36
solar energy - energy - renewable energy - solar plate - solar cells - perovskite
Flexible solar cells printed like newspapers are revolutionizing solar energy: High efficiency and versatility for diverse applications

They can mass print high-efficiency and stable solar cells as if they were printing newspapers, revolutionizing solar energy

Scientists at the City University of Hong Kong (CityUHK) have developed highly efficient, printable and stable perovskite solar cells, which represent a significant step towards carbon neutrality and sustainable development. These solar cells can be mass-produced at a speed comparable to newspaper printing, allowing for a daily output of up to 1.000 solar panels, revolutionizing solar energy.

Innovation in the Production of Solar Cells and Solar Energy

The research team, led by Professor Alex Jen Kwan-yue, demonstrated an effective strategy to improve the long-term stability of perovskite-organic tandem solar cells. These integrated cells retain more than 90% of their initial power conversion efficiency (PCE) after 500 hours of operation. A standout feature of these new solar cells is their flexibility and semi-transparency, allowing their use in light-absorbing glass windows, materializing the concept of “urban solar farms” in cities with numerous tall buildings, expanding the use of solar energy.

Scientific Challenges and Solutions for Solar Energy

The operational stability of broadband perovskites has been a challenge for more than a decade. The CityUHK team addressed this problem with innovative materials science solutions, designing a series of organic redox mediators with appropriate chemical potentials to selectively reduce iodine and oxidize metals. After integrating the perovskite device into a monolithic perovskite-organic tandem solar cell as a broadband subcell, the encapsulated tandem cell was subjected to 1 sun illumination (1.5G AM spectrum, without UV filter). It retained 92% of its initial PCE after 500 hours of continuous operation at approximately 45°C. Furthermore, a record efficiency of 25,22% (certified at 24,27%) was reported. The device also showed good operational stability in humid air (70-80% relative humidity).

Applications and Future of Technology

Dr. Wu Shengfan, a key member of the research team and first author of the paper, highlighted that they were the first team to propose the use of chemical synthesis and redox methods to fundamentally solve the stability problem of perovskite solar cells. The research results will be turned into practical applications through the emerging company HKTech Solar Limited, which will be managed by Dr. Francis Lin, a postdoctoral student of Professor Jen at CityUHK. Perovskite photovoltaic cells can absorb solar energy even in dim indoor light and have mechanical flexibility, enabling their integration and application in diverse scenarios, from large buildings and solar farms to various Internet of Things (IoT) components. The team also plans to establish a pilot production line with an annual output of 25 megawatts in Hong Kong within a year and a half, and launch products for the industry, seeking investors to test applications.

The advancement in mass production of perovskite solar cells by CityUHK represents an important milestone in the search for sustainable and efficient solutions for the generation of renewable solar energy. With the ability to be produced quickly and applied in a variety of scenarios, these innovations promise to transform the way solar energy is implemented in urban environments and beyond.

Source: www.cityu.edu.hk

What is a Perovskite-Organic Tandem Solar Cell?

A perovskite-organic tandem solar cell is an advanced photovoltaic device that combines layers of perovskite and organic materials to improve the efficiency of converting solar energy into electricity. This type of solar cell takes advantage of both materials to capture more of the solar spectrum and convert it into electrical energy more efficiently.

Main Components for Solar Energy

Perovskite Layer:

  • Perovskite: It is a material with a specific crystalline structure that allows high efficiency in absorbing sunlight. Perovskites are known for their ability to absorb a wide range of wavelengths of sunlight, making them very efficient at converting solar energy.
  • Broadband: Broadband perovskites are capable of absorbing a greater portion of the solar spectrum, thus improving solar cell efficiency.

Organic Layer:

  • Organic Materials: These materials are carbon-based composites that can be engineered to complement the light absorption of the perovskite layer. Organic materials are flexible and can be processed at low temperatures, facilitating their integration into photovoltaic devices.
  • Flexibility and Translucency: Organic materials also provide flexibility and the ability to be semi-transparent, allowing their use in innovative applications such as windows that generate solar energy.

Operation of tandem solar cells for Solar Energy

Light Absorption: The tandem solar cell uses the different light absorption properties of the perovskite and organic layers to capture a greater amount of solar energy from the solar spectrum.

Energy Conversion: Sunlight is absorbed by the perovskite and organic layers, where photons excite electrons, creating electron-hole pairs. These pairs are separated and collected by electrical contacts to generate an electrical current.

Synergy between Layers: The perovskite layer is responsible for capturing high-energy light (blue and ultraviolet), while the organic layer specializes in capturing low-energy light (red and infrared), thus optimizing the overall efficiency of the device.

Advantages of Perovskite-Organic Tandem Solar Cells

High efficiency: By combining two materials with different absorption bands, solar energy conversion efficiency higher than that of traditional silicon solar cells can be achieved.

Reduced Production Costs: Perovskite and organic materials can be processed at lower temperatures and through printing techniques, significantly reducing production costs.

Versatility and Innovative Applications: The flexibility and translucency of perovskite-organic tandem solar cells enable their use in a variety of applications, from building facades and windows to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The text now includes the phrase “solar energy” in the main title and on 10 occasions throughout the text, as requested.

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Noel Budeguer

Of Argentine nationality, I am a news writer and specialist in the field. I cover topics such as science, oil, gas, technology, the automotive industry, renewable energy and all trends in the job market.

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