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Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill

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New Class Of Solar Cell Reaches New Efficiency Breakthrough

June 11th, 2013 by  

Oxford PV have announced that they have achieved a new efficiency high-watermark for their new photovoltaic technology of 15.4%, continuing the march towards scale-up and commercialisation.

OxfordPV-LogoSpun off from Oxford University in an attempt to put all of founder Dr. Henry Snaith’s intellectual property under one roof and solve the issues of satisfying global solar demand — “namely high cost, dependence on scarce elements and toxic materials, short lifetimes, and complex manufacturing processes” — PV Oxford, in their purpose built product development facility at Begbroke Science Park near Oxford, have been working steadily towards commercialising their perovskite solar cells.

“Our plan was to continuously optimise our perovskite solar cells towards a goal of more than 20% efficiency but these results are ahead of expectations,” said Snaith. “I see no reason why we can’t aim higher now and accelerate the transfer of our technology into production.”

Snaith revealed the latest jump in efficiency for the flat junction, perovskite solar cells, at a meeting of the European Materials Research Society (EMRS) held in Strasbourg at the end of May. Snaith is not only the founder of Oxford PV, but works as Chief Scientific Officer, along with his academic team of 15 scientists.

Oxford PV’s perovskite solar cells are a step up in many areas over traditional photovoltaic solar cells: they provide a range of transparency options, colours, and tints; use sustainable, abundant, and organic materials; are produced in a simple screen printing process; require low capital cost; and are aesthetically attractive, able to be integrated into the building envelope rather than as a separate tacked-on addition.

The new efficiency test results are all the more important because they were made without the use of Mesoporous Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) — a traditional material used in conventional solar cells — as a semiconductor. Excluding TiO2 allows for a more efficient conversion of energy with enhanced stability. 
 
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About the Author

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.



  • JamesWimberley

    15.4% is better than current production thin-film PV. The key material, perovskite, is described as “common” on WebMineral. If you can’t dig it up, there’s always chemical engineering.Titanium dioxide is the white in standard white paint, and manufactured in large quantities – over 6m tonnes a year. Snaith’s hopes of cheapness look realistic.

    • eject

      Perovskite describes a crystal structure. It is one of the most common structures found in naturally occurring minerals. However, solid state chemist are making there own Perovskites since decades, they can constitute of elements which do not occur in a perovskite-type crystal in nature. Which is actually the fun bit in being a solid state chemist, making natures structures out of other stuff. Those perovskites can have all sorts of properties an apart from the structure they don’t have much in common with the ones you can find in your back yard.

  • Leland

    I am confused by the last paragraph. Are you saying that not using TiO2 makes for more efficiency and stability or that TiO2 usually does that and these cells do it in another way? If so how?

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