Last month, a group of Dartmouth College scientists developed what it refers to as 'the quickest reliable printing method for the manufacturing of perovskite solar cells'. The Dartmouth Engineering Lab's new method accelerates total processing time of solar charge transport layers (CTLs) by 60 times while maintaining reliability.
"Our method prints the layers of the solar cell with the speed and efficiency of a commercial newspaper printing press. This high manufacturing speed is important because it directly translates to lower cost per kWh, which will ultimately make solar energy more affordable for a larger population", said Dartmouth Engineering Professor William Scheideler
The researchers' method involves pairing high-speed flexographic printing with rapidly annealed sol-gel inks. When compared to silicon photovoltaic production, the Dartmouth method is faster and also more efficient in terms of energy usage and required materials.
"An advantage of our process is that it can be used to print solar cell layers on flexible or rigid substrates, allowing for applications of solar energy that go beyond typical silicon solar panels," said Dartmouth's Julia Huddy.
"The impact of solar energy and its penetration into the electrical grid depend critically on the cost of manufacturing solar cells. This is where innovation in the lab is still needed to accelerate the potential of renewable technologies," said Scheideler.