In the last years photovoltaic technology has achieved a great development in terms of manufacturing and operation of materials for solar cells
Solar energy has revolutionized the global energy landscape thanks to its sustainable alternative source characteristics. The commitment of governments and industries to solar energy as a substitute for coal to contribute to sustainable development and fight against climate change is increasingly high.
SOLAR CELLS MAATERIALS MANUFACTURE AND OPERATION
In this sense, experts in solar energy continue to experiment to take solar photovoltaic technology a step further. Today at Bester, specialists in renewable energy, we want to show you some advances in photovoltaic solar energy.
Floating solar panel
They are solar panels that can be installed on large bodies of water such as reservoirs, lakes, rafts and water channels for irrigation and other uses. It is an alternative for solar parks of land, simple and affordable. These floating solar panels are designed for companies that use large surfaces of water, destinándolas to give a use.
Another advantage of the location on the water is the increase in the efficiency of the panels; According to different studies, they could produce up to 20% more energy because water does not accumulate heat, as opposed to the earth.
However, large waves are the most obvious threat to floating solar parks installed overseas. But saltpeter and corrosion by sea salt can also cause damage to the metal structures to which it adheres and on solar panels, reducing its efficiency and its useful life.
China has, for now, the largest floating solar park in the world. It is built on a peculiar artificial lagoon, in the mining and eastern province of Anhui, with a power of up to 30 megawatts and which is capable of supplying electricity to some 15,000 homes operating at full capacity.
The perovskite cell is the future of solar energy
The perovskite cell is the new photovoltaic technology that could change the future of renewable energies .
This solar cell uses hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin-based material as the active light-capture layer.
The technology promises greater efficiency in the conversion of light to electricity at a lower cost than existing technologies.
Earlier this year, Oxford PV , a joint venture with the University of Oxford , received US $ 3 million from the UK government to develop the technology.
In addition, on Monday a company called Swift Solar raised US $ 7 million to bring the same technology to the market.
«Perovskite has really allowed us to rethink what we can do with solar panels,» explained Sam Stranks , scientist at Swift Solar .
This new alternative was discovered in 2014 and it is until 2018 that it has been taken to the commercial sector for mass production.
In 2016, the technology of manufacturing solar cells using perovskites was named as one of the top 10 technologies that could transform the industry and safeguard our planet, by the World Economic Forum.
The current solar cells are based on silicon, a material difficult to find in a pure way. So silicon dioxide is usually melted, which is abundant, but it takes a lot of energy to remove the oxygen attached to it, which translates into high greenhouse gas emissions.
The production process is complicated and energy intensive. These silicon-based cells are rigid and heavy and their efficiency is limited.
The perovskite is not a single material, but a crystalline structure in which innumerable possible combinations fit. The photovoltaic properties of this material could allow to make solar panels of higher performance and get cheap electricity from the sun and with fewer emissions.
Perovskite cells are produced at temperatures never exceeding 200 degrees, and by simpler deposition processes.
Although it has some drawbacks:
- Perovskite tends to decompose quickly, limited stability of its components, which are affected by environmental humidity.
- Perovskite contains lead, a very toxic metal.
- The lifetime of a perovskite solar panel can not yet compete with that of a silicon panel.
Most researchers and the market believe that perovskite will not replace silicon, at least in the medium term. «At best it can make silicon more efficient,» says Henk Bolink, a researcher at the Institute of Molecular Science at the University of Valencia.
Is it possible to imagine an ink that could be sprayed as a spray on the roofs, walls or windows of our homes to generate solar energy, an ink capable of converting the energy of the sun’s rays into electricity? Several companies and research groups already have materials of these characteristics, and believe that models of competitive solar ink could be launched to the market.
Photovoltaic ink emerged as a way to improve the capture of solar energy by means of semiconductor panels. The injection of photovoltaic ink increases the receptivity in the panels, thus producing a greater amount of energy.
The cells would be applied by a method that resembles a car paint or graphic printing, spraying in several layers. This waste is minimal and this concept would allow it to be easily adapted to mass production.
SOLAR INK OF PEROVSKITA FOR PRINTED PANELS
As mentioned above, most commercial solar cells are made of thin sheets of crystalline silicon of very high purity obtainable through a process that consumes a lot of energy, requires temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius and large amounts of dangerous solvents.
Dr. Hairen Tan, and his research team at the University of Toronto, presented printed solar panels capable of converting almost any surface into a power generator. The related article «Efficient and stable solution-planar perovskite solar cells via contact passivation» was published in the journal Science on February 17, 2017.
The solar cells of perovskite (titanium trioxide and calcium) depend on a nanolayer of tiny orthorhombic crystals, each of them approximately 1,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, of low cost and sensitive to light. Perovskite preparations can be mixed in liquids to form a kind of «solar ink», usable to print on glass, plastic or other materials through a simple process of printing by injection.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
According to its promoters, its advantages lie in its price and its respect for the environment. On the one hand, the current solar panels are made through a very expensive process, in addition to needing significant amounts of energy. On the other hand, when the solar panels stop working, they must be recycled in an appropriate way, because, otherwise, they can become very polluting.
However, there is a «but» . The energy obtained by means of traditional solar panels is still much more efficient than solar ink.
Photovoltaic ink, new technology for printing and converting images in solar cells
A new technique that allows you to print images or photos with photovoltaic ink to work as a solar cell, and thus be able to generate energy. The technology could be applied in low-consumption electronic devices or, even, in the information boards.
Can you have an image that generates energy? It is no longer science fiction. A group of scientists from the University of Aalto, Finland, composed of Janne Halme, Ghufran Hashmi, Alpi Rimppi, and Merve Özkan, has developed photovoltaic cells that can be printed with letters and high-precision images.
According to the researchers, the printed solar cells use a low-cost inkjet and could be applied for the most diverse uses, but above all to feed and customize low-power devices. This could also be an option for a new generation of billboards or signage, surface customization, for example.
The printing of the cells is done by means of an ink jet that is combined with a dye solution with a titanium oxide film, which acts as an electrolyte. This combination was developed in Switzerland and used by the Finns in this project. With this material, you can print an image file in different degrees of transparency, to have greater clarity.
According to the scientists, the result of this experiment is a colorful cell, personalized in order to generate electricity and being pleasing to the eye, which can transmit information while producing clean energy.
The solar cells printed by this technique are as efficient and resistant as solar cells manufactured in the traditional way. The darker the ink, we will achieve more efficiency.
The results of the experiment were published in a scientific journal. Click here to access the material.