For those who are keen on digging out the latest news on technology, it would be easy to track information about the latest developments taking place every day across the globe. With the world changing at such a fast pace, how can the renewable energy sector be left untouched? New techniques and exceptional methods of harnessing the sun’s power are transforming one of the wildest human dreams of the present day into genuine and reliable possibilities of the future.
Despite rapid technological developments, the solar energy sector has been struggling to cut down the associated costs and increase efficiency, which are not a problem with the mainstays, including coal, petroleum, and natural gas. However, over the last decade, the solar power industry has grown by leaps and bounds and has come up with far economical and efficient methods of tapping on the sun’s energy for fulfilling the power consumption needs of the society. The dream of having cheaper and more efficient solar power setup on roofs can soon be converted into a reality, thanks to the groundbreaking solar photovoltaic cell technology.
A recent research conducted by Professor Henry Snaith, an Oxford University physicist and co-founder of the Oxford Photovoltaics, along with his team, charts the usage of economical Perovskite semi-conductors as an alternative to crystalline silicon for developing much simplified solar cells, for achieving a better conversion rate at a price, far more economical than the costly silicon solar cells.
Calcium titanium oxide, mainly popular as perovskite, is an inexpensive and somewhat more efficient alternative to the currently used silicon material. According to the research journal, the perovskite solar cell model is comparatively less complex in terms of production, which makes it perfect for being manufactured on a large scale in a short span of time.
Professor Snaith declared in the study that this new generation technology, based on the perovskite solar cells, managed to reach an efficiency level of more than 15% in the past year, thereby surpassing many of the existing as well as emerging technologies, which are yet to cross the 14% mark, despite decades of research involved in the process. The charts also stated that with further research and development, the efficiency bar can be pushed as far as 20%, which will certainly make them much cheaper and a competent alternative to the silicon cell models.
Though Professor Snaith and company, apart from introducing a groundbreaking technology, managed to find a ready solution to tackle the reddish-brown tint, earlier related to the use of calcium titanium oxide for manufacturing semi-transparent cells, the overall stability of this next gen technology is still being questioned by many.
According to Professor Martin Green of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, University of New South Wales, perovskite cells might have an unmatched level of efficiency for the materials used in preparation, the quantity of lead used in production still remains an issue worth addressing.
The production of perovskite solar cells involves using lead in high volumes, which would certainly exceed the maximum requirements established by the European Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive. Even though photovoltaic cells are currently not a part of these requirements, but with such an increased usage, it might be a concern for the government and the environment in the near future.
The Future Prospects
The perovskite solar cell technology is one of the most rapidly growing areas of interest in the world of photovoltaic research. Though it will be a challenging task to replace the pervasive silicon based technology at present, more dedicated and investigative approach in carrying out further research to raise the efficiency bar to up to 30% can make perovskite solar cells strong enough to write a new chapter in the book of solar power generation in the coming years.
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