Loading...

Changing the Building Blocks of Solar Panels Could Speed Mass Production

June 27, 2022 by Dan McCue
(Credit: Ravi Silva, director of the ATI at the University of Surrey.)

GUILDFORD, England — Researchers at the University of Surrey have joined the growing chorus of scientists and entrepreneurs who believe perovskite, often referred to as a kind of “miracle” material, just may be the key to speeding the mass production of low-cost solar panels.

At the heart of a paper newly published in Scientific Reports is the idea of using perovskite ink to create low-cost, lightweight solar cells that can either be rigid or flexible, making them easier to transport and install.

First discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1839, perovskite is a calcium titanium oxide mineral that displays a number of useful properties including superconductivity and magnetoresistance.

It has long been considered to have a possible future in the manufacture of solar cells because they are relatively easy to synthesize and have proven to be highly efficient photovoltaics.

Already at least one firm, a Canadian startup called Solaires Entreprises is marketing a perovskite-based product called Solar Ink that can be used to create standalone perovskite solar modules. It also can be combined with existing solar modules in a tandem configuration.

Others see the material as playing a critical role in next-gen electric vehicle batteries, sensors, lasers and much more.

The paper by Dr. Ehsan Rezaee, a post-doctoral fellow of the Advanced Technology Institute at the University of Surrey, considers the use of perovskite as a replacement of the silicon traditionally used as the basis of solar cells.

“The objective is simply to produce solar cell building blocks out of perovskite ink,” Rezaee writes of his research. “Whilst perovskite ink is not a new technology, current inks do not guarantee seamless transitions on an industrial scale, as the manufacturing process needs to be highly controlled and optimized.

“Our perovskite ink produces a fast and reproducible way to reliably fabricate these solar cell building blocks on a mass scale, paving the way for its use in commercial markets,” he continued.

The University of Surrey is a leading research institution that focuses on sustainability for the benefit of society to deal with the many challenges of climate change. 

“The University of Surrey has always believed in the potential of solar panels to be a critical research area which will, in time, allow us to move away from dangerous old energy sources,” said professor Ravi Silva, director of the ATI at the University of Surrey, in a written statement. 

“However, we must do more to improve the connection between research and production on a mass industry scale in order to see this as a future turning point, which is the purpose of our paper,” Silva said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

In The News

Health

Voting

Renewable Energy

August 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
Inflation Reduction Act Gives Major Boost to Hydrogen Sector

WASHINGTON — When President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday, business leaders throughout the renewable... Read More

WASHINGTON — When President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday, business leaders throughout the renewable energy sector cheered the finalization of the nation’s largest ever investment in climate and the clean energy solutions of the future. While many people hearing about... Read More

August 18, 2022
by Dan McCue
Treasury, IRS Issue Guidance on New Electric Vehicle Tax Credit

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance Tuesday on changes to the tax credit... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued new guidance Tuesday on changes to the tax credit for electric vehicles now that President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. While the reforms in the act will cause the tax... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Kate Michael
Analysts Consider Areas of US-Japan Collaboration for Energy, Environmental Risk Reduction

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan are two countries known for protecting and promoting leading-edge technologies, but given lessons... Read More

WASHINGTON — The United States and Japan are two countries known for protecting and promoting leading-edge technologies, but given lessons learned over the past few years, “just having innovation is not sufficient,” according to Tatsuya Terazawa, chairman and CEO of the Institute of Energy Economics in... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
$44M Available From DOE for Innovation in Geothermal Sector

WASHINGTON — Up to $44 million is being made available for projects to develop and test technology to foster innovation... Read More

WASHINGTON — Up to $44 million is being made available for projects to develop and test technology to foster innovation in enhanced geothermal energy systems, the U.S. Department of Energy announced Monday. The funding opportunity is being managed by the DOE’s Frontier Observatory for Research in... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Comment Period Extended on Gulf Wind Energy Proposal

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has extended the deadline to make comments on two potential wind energy... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has extended the deadline to make comments on two potential wind energy areas in the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf to Sept. 2. Previously the deadline for responses and comments had been Aug. 19, this Friday. On... Read More

August 15, 2022
by Dan McCue
Massachusetts Governor Signs Climate Bill

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy... Read More

BOSTON — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts has signed a climate bill that both boosts support for renewable energy and sets limits on fossil fuel use. The Massachusetts state Legislature passed the bill at a time when the federal Build Back Better plan appeared dead,... Read More

News From The Well