Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CleanTechnica
Most solar panels today use silicon wafers to create electricity. Using perovskite instead of silicon lowers the cost of solar panels two ways.

Clean Power

Perovskite Solar Cells Get Less Toxic

Most solar panels today use silicon wafers to create electricity. Using perovskite instead of silicon lowers the cost of solar panels two ways.

Originally published on Solar Love.

Most solar panels today use silicon wafers to create electricity. Using perovskite instead of silicon lowers the cost of solar panels two ways. First, the material itself is less expensive than silicon. Second, the manufacturing process uses much less energy than is needed to make silicon-based solar panels. Even though perovskite panels are not quite as efficient as those that use silicon wafers, they reportedly have the shortest “energy payback time” of any panel. Simply put, the energy used to produce them is regained from generation faster than with any other type of solar PV panel.

perovskite solar cell

Up until now, making perovskite solar panels has involved the use of highly toxic chemicals — a significant drawback. But scientists at Oxford University in Britain say they have developed a much less toxic solvent system. The new process should clear the way for large-scale commercial production of perovskite solar cells.

“At the moment, there are three main solvents used in the manufacture of perovskite solar cells, and they are all toxic, which means you wouldn’t want to come into contact with them,” explains Nakita Noel from Oxford University’s Department of Physics. “Additionally, the most efficient perovskite solar cells are currently made through a process called solvent quenching – a technique that is not easily transferred from lab-scale deposition techniques to large-scale deposition techniques.

“While vapor deposition of these materials can overcome this problem, it will come at additional costs. One of the main selling points of this material is that it is cheap and can be easily solution-processed. We have now developed the first clean, low boiling point, low viscosity solvent for this purpose,” he says. “What is really exciting about this breakthrough is that largely reducing the toxicity of the solvent hasn’t led to a reduction in the efficiency of the material in harnessing solar energy.”

By combining methylamine and acetonitrile, the scientists were able to develop a clean solvent that quickly crystallizes perovskite films at room temperature and can be used to help coat large solar panels with the material. The scientists’ report has been published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.

In recent years, perovskite-based solar cells have raced to the forefront of photovoltaic technology. They are able to compete in efficiency with well established solar technologies such as inorganic thin-film and multi-crystalline silicon used in solar panels around the world.

One advantage of perovskite cells is they can be engineered to react to different wavelengths of light. Eventually, that may make them more efficient than silicon-based solar cells as well as less expensive. If so, perovskite solar panels could drive the cost of solar power even lower than the record low prices established recently in Chile and Abu Dhabi. Once that happens, generating electricity by burning fossil fuels will be closer to becoming a thing of the past.

Source: Materials Today | Photo credit: Nakita Noel and Bernard Wenger


Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
 
 
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.
Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

Comments

#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar energy, and battery news & analysis site in the world.

 

Support our work today!

Advertisement

Power CleanTechnica: $3/Month

Tesla News Solar News EV News Data Reports

Advertisement

EV Sales Charts, Graphs, & Stats

Advertisement

Our Electric Car Driver Report

30 Electric Car Benefits

Tesla Model 3 Video

Renewable Energy 101 In Depth

solar power facts

Tesla News

EV Reviews

Home Efficiency

You May Also Like

Cars

The UK plugin electric vehicle market share, at 13.25% in April 2021, was quite impressive again despite significant cuts in government incentives. Vehicles that...

Autonomous Vehicles

There’s a chance that self-driving vehicles will be allowed on the roads in the UK by the end of this year, the BBC reports....

Cars

The UK saw plugin electric vehicle market share at 13.25% in April 2021, with full electrics at a healthy 6.5% despite recent cuts in...

Autonomous Vehicles

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a breakthrough in energy-efficient phototransistors. Such devices could eventually help...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.