Perovskite Solar

What are perovskite?

Perovskites are a class of materials that share a similar structure, which display a myriad of exciting properties like superconductivity, magnetoresistance and more. These easily synthesized materials are considered the future of solar cells, as their distinctive structure makes them perfect for enabling low-cost, efficient photovoltaics. They are also predicted to play a role in next-gen electric vehicle batteries, sensors, lasers and much more.

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How does the PV market look today?

In general, Photovoltaic (PV) technologies can be viewed as divided into two main categories: wafer-based PV (also called 1st generation PVs) and thin-film cell PVs. Traditional crystalline silicon (c-Si) cells (both single crystalline silicon and multi-crystalline silicon) and gallium arsenide (GaAs) cells belong to the wafer-based PVs, with c-Si cells dominating the current PV market (about 90% market share) and GaAs exhibiting the highest efficiency.

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Thin-film cells normally absorb light more efficiently than silicon, allowing the use of extremely thin films. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) technology has been successfully commercialized, with more than 20% cell efficiency and 17.5% module efficiency record and such cells currently hold about 5% of the total market. Other commercial thin-film technologies include hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) and copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) cells, taking approximately 2% market share each today. Copper zinc tin sulphide technology has been under R&D for years and will probably require some time until actual commercialization.

What is a perovskite solar cell?

An emerging thin-film PV class is being formed, also called 3rd generation PVs, which refers to PVs using technologies that have the potential to overcome current efficiency and performance limits or are based on novel materials. This 3rd generation of PVs includes DSSC, organic photovoltaic (OPV), quantum dot (QD) PV and perovskite PV.

A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell which includes a perovskite structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer. Perovskite materials such as methylammonium lead halides are cheap to produce and relatively simple to manufacture. Perovskites possess intrinsic properties like broad absorption spectrum, fast charge separation, long transport distance of electrons and holes, long carrier separation lifetime, and more, that make them very promising materials for solid-state solar cells.

Perovskite-solar-cell

Perovskite solar cells are, without a doubt, the rising star in the field of photovoltaics. They are causing excitement within the solar power industry with their ability to absorb light across almost all visible wavelengths, exceptional power conversion efficiencies already exceeding 20% in the lab, and relative ease of fabrication. Perovskite solar cells still face several challenge, but much work is put into facing them and some companies, are already talking about commercializing them in the near future.

What are the advantages of Perovskite solar cells?

Put simply, perovskite solar cells aim to increase the efficiency and lower the cost of solar energy. Perovskite PVs indeed hold promise for high efficiencies, as well as low potential material & reduced processing costs. A big advantage perovskite PVs have over conventional solar technology is that they can react to various different wavelengths of light, which lets them convert more of the sunlight that reaches them into electricity.

Moreover, they offer flexibility, semi-transparency, tailored form factors, light-weight and more. Naturally, electronics designers and researchers are certain that such characteristics will open up many more applications for solar cells.

What is holding perovskite PVs back?

Despite its great potential, perovskite solar cell technology is still in the early stages of commercialization compared with other mature solar technologies as there are a number of concerns remaining.

One problem is their overall cost (for several reasons, mainly since currently the most common electrode material in perovskite solar cells is gold), and another is that cheaper perovskite solar cells have a short lifespan. Perovskite PVs also deteriorate rapidly in the presence of moisture and the decay products attack metal electrodes. Heavy encapsulation to protect perovskite can add to the cell cost and weight. Scaling up is another issue - reported high efficiency ratings have been achieved using small cells, which is great for lab testing, but too small to be used in an actual solar panel.

A major issue is toxicity - a substance called PbI is one of the breakdown products of perovskite. This is known to be toxic and there are concerns that it may be carcinogenic (although this is still an unproven point). Also, many perovskite cells use lead, a massive pollutant. Researchers are constantly seeking substitutions, and have already made working cells using tin instead. (with efficiency at only 6%, but improvements will surely follow).

What’s next?

While major challenges indeed exist, perovskite solar cells are still touted as the PV technology of the future, and much development work and research are put into making this a reality. Scientists and companies are working towards increasing efficiency and stability, prolonging lifetime and replacing toxic materials with safer ones. Researchers are also looking at the benefits of combining perovskites with other technologies, like silicon for example, to create what is referred to as “tandem cells”.

Commercial activity in the field of perovskite PV

In September 2015, Australia-based organic PV and perovskite solar cell (PSC) developer Dyesol declared a major breakthrough in perovskite stability for solar applications. Dyesol claims to have made a significant breakthrough on small perovskite solar cells, with “meaningful numbers” of 10% efficient strip cells exhibiting less than 10% relative degradation when exposed to continuous light soaking for over 1000 hours. Dyesol was also awarded a $0.5 million grant from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to commercialize an innovative, very high efficiency perovskite solar cell.

Also in 2015, Saule Technologies signed an investment deal with Hideo Sawada, a Japanese investment company. Saule aims to combine perovskite solar cells with other currently available products, and this investment agreement came only a year after the company was launched.

In October 2020, Saule launched sunbreaker lamellas equipped with perovskite solar cells. The product is planned to soon be marketed across across Europe and potentially go global after that.

In August 2020, reports out of China suggested that a perovskite photovoltaic cell production line has gone into production in Quzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. The 40-hectare factory was reportedly funded by Microquanta Semiconductor and expected to produce more than 200,000 square meters of photovoltaic glass before the end of 2020.

In September 2020, Oxford PV's Professor Henry Snaith stated that the Company's perovskite-based solar cells are scheduled to go on sale next year, probably by mid 2021. These will be perovskite solar cells integrated with standard silicon solar cells.

 

BOE to invest over USD$100 million in new perovskite PV pilot line

Reports suggest that a new pilot line for the production of perovskite solar cells has been approved by the administrative committee of Xinzhan Hi-Tech Zone, Hefei City, Anhui Province, China. 

The project is initiated by Hefei BOE PV Company, a holding subsidiary of BOE Technology Group Co. (BOE), a company that is known to have launched a project to enter the photovoltaic industry by investing in perovskite solar cells. BOE reportedly plans to invest 871 million yuan (approximately US$119.85 million) to set up the pilot line for perovskite solar cells. 

Read the full story Posted: Jul 09,2024

Researchers use high-entropy hybrid perovskites to design efficient and stable perovskite solar cells

Researchers from China's Zhejiang University, Westlake University, Southern University of Science and Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and University of California Los Angeles in the U.S have reported a family of high-entropy organic–inorganic hybrid perovskites for photovoltaic applications.  

The scientists built, for the first time, an inverted perovskite solar cell relying on a high-entropy hybrid perovskite material. The result is a device with an improved open-circuit voltage and fill factor, due to reduced non-radiative recombinations and optimized interface.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 07,2024

Researchers improve the stability of perovskite solar cells with novel encapsulation method

Researchers at CHOSE (Centre for Hybrid and Organic Solar Energy, University of Rome Tor Vergata), BeDimensional, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia and GreatCell Solar Italia recently addressed the stability issues presented by perovskite solar cells, by developing an industrial encapsulation process based on the lamination of highly viscoelastic semi-solid/highly viscous liquid adhesive atop perovskite solar cells and modules. 

Sketch of the structure of the mesoscopic n-i-p PSCs. Image credit: Nature Communications 

The encapsulant reportedly reduces the thermomechanical stresses at the encapsulant/rear electrode interface. The addition of thermally conductive two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride into the polymeric matrix improves the barrier and thermal management properties of the encapsulant. Without any edge sealant, encapsulated devices withstood multifaceted accelerated ageing tests, retaining >80% of their initial efficiency.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 06,2024

Researchers develop perovskite solar cells with improved performance using an organic electron-rich surface passivation layer

Researchers from Zhejiang University of Technology and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have utilized two sulfone-based organic molecules known as diphenylsulfone (DPS) and 4,4′-dimethyldiphenylsulfone (DMPS) to passivate absorber defects in perovskite solar cells and improve their performance. As a result, the team reported a device with a higher electron cloud density at the interface between the perovskite material and the passivation layer.

The scientists used the molecules to improve charge distribution at the interface between the cell's perovskite absorber and the passivation layer, which reportedly creates electron-rich systems on the surface of perovskite. Using density functional theory (DFT) to compute a wide variety of properties of almost any kind of atomic system, they simulated the charge density distributions of the interactions of DPS and DMPS with formamidinium lead iodide (FAPbI3) perovskite material.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 05,2024

Researchers design 4T perovskite/perovskite/silicon triple-junction tandem solar cell with 31.5% efficiency

Researchers from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have reported four-terminal perovskite/perovskite/silicon triple-junction tandem solar cells, with the device structure comprising a perovskite single-junction top cell and monolithic perovskite/silicon tandem bottom cell.

The cells reportedly yielded a 31.5% power conversion efficiency, which the team said is the highest efficiency ever reported for perovskite-based 4-T and triple-junction tandem solar cells. The key feature of the cell is the hole transport layer of the top perovskite cell, which was engineered with self-assembled monolayers.

Read the full story Posted: Jul 03,2024

Researchers develop method based on silicon nanoantennas to improve perovskite solar cells

Researchers from Harbin Engineering University, ITMO University and Hellenic Mediterranean University have managed to improve perovskite solar cells with the help of silicon nanoantennas, which increase the concentration of light in the material at certain wavelengths. The team applied monodisperse silicon nanoparticles to investigate optical effects responsible for the improvement of perovskite solar cells. This method could someday be used to create solar cells for indoor lighting and even the space industry. 

Solar cells and batteries in general can be improved by developing semiconductor materials that efficiently absorb light. Perovskites are considered promising since they are light, thin, and easy-to-produce and can be used to make thin solar cells with varied bending shapes, low weight, and multiple applications. Like other semiconductors, perovskites, however, absorb just a fraction of the spectrum and therefore generate less energy than they receive from the source. To that end, the international team of scientists has developed perovskite solar cells using silicon-based optical resonant nanoantennas. 

Read the full story Posted: Jul 01,2024

Researchers develop efficient inverted perovskite solar cell using indium doped nickel oxide as HTL

Researchers from Colombia's Universidad de los Andes recently set out to develop inverted perovskite solar cells (IPSCs) with a hole transport layer based on indium-doped nickel oxide. The result is a champion device that achieved an efficiency of 20.06% with remarkable stability.

The team explained that NiOx has an energy gap of over 3.5 eV, exceptional chemical stability, durability, low toxicity, and cost-effective processing. The scientists said that in the case of NiOx-based inverted perovskite solar cells, the doping approach has indeed paved the way for HTL optimization, frequently through observable improvements also at the interface level and in the perovskite layer.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 28,2024

Researchers develop 'self-healing' dynamic passivation method for better perovskite solar cells

Researchers from Monash University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Tunghai University, the University of Oxford, National Central University, and the City University of Hong Kong have developed a strategy to enhance the stability and performance of perovskite solar cells (PSCs) through a mechanism described as 'self-healing'.

The team reported a living passivation strategy using a hindered urea/thiocarbamate bond Lewis acid-base material (HUBLA), where dynamic covalent bonds with water and heat-activated characteristics can dynamically heal the perovskite to ensure device performance and stability. 

Read the full story Posted: Jun 27,2024

QD Solar acquired by SunDensity, renamed SunDensity Canada

SunDensity has acquired QD Solar, developer of perovskite solar cells, renaming it SunDensity Canada. This move is meant to align both companies on technologies and products that amplify solar panel efficiency.

SunDensity develops coatings that improve the efficiency of solar panels and increase the reflectivity of windows and glass, helping to lower energy costs and carbon emissions by reducing heat gain. The acquisition will combine the technological expertise of both companies, targeting commercialization. 

Read the full story Posted: Jun 26,2024

Researchers use ChatGPT to generate hypotheses for improving perovskite solar cells

Researchers from China's Nankai University and Linköping University in Sweden have attempted to design a perovskite solar cell with the help of ChatGPT. The experiment helped the team to identify a series of materials for the cell composition and the results were cells with a higher power conversion efficiency compared to that of reference cells built without the material proposed by ChatGPT.

The scientists explored ChatGPT's ability to generate hypotheses for material science and identify untested molecules capable of reducing surface recombination and thereby boosting the efficiency of perovskite solar cells.

Read the full story Posted: Jun 24,2024