AI News, Perovskite Solar Cell Production Gets Environmentally Friendly

Perovskite Solar Cell Production Gets Environmentally Friendly

While perovskite has begun to branch out into transistors and nanowire lasers, it already has astellar reputation as an alternative to silicon in photovoltaics.

Colsmann and his colleagues believe that if they can tackle the enviromental concerns, the prospects for perovskite-based solar cells will be greatly improved, expanding their potential from serving just in large-scale energy production, but also in de-centralized power supply arrangements.

If perovskite solar cells can meet the production costs of organic solar cells and reach the energy conversion efficiency of silicon-based solar cells, then perovskite indeed will deserve its very promising reputation in the field of photovoltaics.

Nanocrystalline Thin-film Solar Cells

The efficiency of perovskite-based solar cells was improved significantly in the past years.

Low material costs and small amounts of material required – thanks to the thin-film technology – make perovskite solar cells a promising alternative.

The physicist points out that perovskite solar cells might not only be suited for large-scale electricity production, but also for decentralized power supply, if sustainable and environmentally friendly production processes can be established.

He emphasizes that development of environmentally friendly perovskite solar cells is not only required for sustainability reasons, but also a major prerequisite for their economic success.

They want to specifically adjust nanoscaled crystal structures and to develop novel, environmentally friendly materials and processes for the production of perovskite and its integration into solar cells.

The “NanoSolar” project is scheduled for a duration of three years and supported with EUR 530,000 by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation under the research program 'Funktionelle Oberflächen und Materialien für eine nachhaltige Energieversorgung” (Functional surfaces and materials for sustainable energy supply).

Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life.

Solar cells with nanostripes

The perovskites used by the KIT scientists are metal organic compounds with a special crystal structure and excellent photovoltaic properties.

Research into perovskite solar cells, however, faces two special challenges: The light-absorbing layers have to be made more robust to environmental impacts and the lead contained therein has to be replaced by environmentally more compatible elements.

An interdisciplinary team of researchers headed by Dr. Alexander Colsmann, Head of the Organic Photovoltaics Group of KIT's Light Technology Institute (LTI) and KIT's Material Research Center for Energy Systems (MZE) analyzed perovskite solar cells by means of piezoresponse force microscopy, a special type of scanning force microscopy, and found ferroelectric nanostructures in the light-absorbing layers.

Research Group Colsmann - Light Technology Institute (LTI)

Organic solar cells are an emerging technology that promises an economic use of commodities, a disposal without obligations and an unsurpassed energy payback time of only a few months, whereas silicon solar cells require more than one year to harvest back the energy consumed during fabrication.

In order to push the limits of organic photovoltaic devices beyond the latest performance records, multi-disciplinary efforts by physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers at the research group and its partners concentrate on finding new organic materials and device architectures for light harvesting.