The US Air Force awards University of Toledo $12.5 million to develop space-based solar energy sheets

The U.S. Air Force recently awarded the University of Toledo (UToledo) $12.5 million to develop photovoltaic energy sheets that would live in space and harvest solar energy to transmit power wirelessly to Earth-based receivers or to other orbital or aerial instrumentation, such as communications satellites.

UToledo physicists will develop flexible solar cell sheets, each roughly the size of a piece of paper, that can be assembled and interconnected into much larger structures. The team will focus on tandem architectures and work with a variety of combinations of solar cells, perovskites included.

Researchers design a 15.2%-efficient foldable perovskite solar cell with a carbon nanotube electrode

Scientists from South Korea have developed a foldable thin-film device with promising characteristics. Integrating a perovskite cell material and a carbon nanotube electrode, the group fabricated a device that achieved 15.2% efficiency and could be folded more than 10,000 times at a bending radius of 0.5mm.

A 15.2%-efficient solar cell that you can fold in half image

Solar cell materials tend to be quite sensitive. Designing and manufacturing devices that can withstand the stress of being folded and bent is challenging, and many of even the most promising solutions are still quite limited in their flexibility. The scientists at Pusan National University in South Korea took a major step forward in solving this problem, fabricating a device that can be folded down to a ‘bending radius’ – the minimum size of fold possible without causing damage – of 0.5mm.

Power Roll raises US$8 million to scale-up solar film manufacture

Power Roll logo imagePower Roll, a developer of low-cost and lightweight flexible film for energy generation and storage, recently reported raising £3 million (around USD$4.16 million), which joins a previous raise and takes total investment in the firm to £5.8 million (over USD$8 million) over two funding rounds completed in the last six months.

Power Roll is working with a perovskite solar ink, and has already achieved 11% efficiency, with a roadmap to bring this to 20%. Power Roll also states that its substrate is compatible with any photo absorbing ink.

Flexible semi-transparent tandem perovskite/CIGS solar cell with 26.5% efficiency reported by Solliance and MiaSolé

Solliance and U.S-based MiaSolé announced a new record - power conversion efficiency of 26.5% on a tandem solar cell that combined a top rigid semi-transparent perovskite solar cell with a bottom flexible copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) cell.

Solliance and Miasole's 23%efficiency tandem perovskite/CIGS cells image

This impressive efficiency was achieved by optimizing the bandgap and the efficiency of both the rigid semi-transparent perovskite top cell and the flexible CIGS bottom cell. The CIGS was roll to roll produced on steel foil, with a power conversion efficiency of 20.0%.

Researchers develop mechanically robust and self-healable perovskite solar cells

A multi-institution team of researchers, led by the Davidson School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, has reported a breakthrough in the flexible solar cell field that may contribute to the development of solar cells on flexible surfaces, including ultra-flexible and wearable energy-harvesting devices.

Perovskite composite material heals after mechanical damage and is demonstrated in flexible solar cells image

“Our research is unique in that we have created the first mechanically self-healing perovskite material,” says Blake Finkenauer, lead author of the study and a fourth-year graduate student with Dr. Letian Dou, the Charles Davidson Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue. “Self-healing mechanical damage has only been realized in the organic materials field, typically with insulating materials. By joining dissimilar perovskite and polymer materials, a composite material with both semiconducting and self-healing properties is realized. The polymer acts as a molecular bonding agent with the crystals, which improves both the thermal and mechanical stability compared to the pure perovskite material".