Published on June 11th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill3
New Class Of Solar Cell Reaches New Efficiency Breakthrough
Spun 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.