A University of Toledo (Ohio) physics professor has made a breakthrough in the chemical process around tandem peroviskite solar cells that he thinks will assist in bringing the technology mainstream. Dr. Yanfa Yan recently published a research paper in the journal Science that outlines how UToledo’s photovoltaics team is fine-tuning a mix of lead and tin to advance peroviskites to their maximum efficiency. Efforts have brought the efficiency of the new solar cell to about 23%.
“We are producing higher-efficiency, lower-cost solar cells that show great promise to help solve the world energy crisis,” Yan said. “The meaningful work will help protect our planet for our children and future generations. We have a problem consuming most of the fossil energies right now, and our collaborative team is focused on refining our innovative way to clean up the mess.”
Working in collaboration with NREL, Yan and his team have experimented with guanidinium thiocyanate to dramatically improve the structural and optoelectronic properties of the lead-tin perovskite films.
“Our UToledo research is ongoing to make cheaper and more efficient solar cells that could rival and even outperform the prevailing silicon photovoltaic technology,” said Dr. Zhaoning Song, research assistant professor in the UToledo Department of Physics and Astronomy and co-author on the study. “Our tandem solar cells with two layers of perovskites deliver high power conversion efficiency and have the potential to bring down production costs of solar panels, which is an important advance in photovoltaics.”
About five years ago, Yan’s team at UToledo identified the ideal properties of perovskites, and he has since focused his 20 years of experience on producing an all-perovskite tandem solar cell that brings together two different solar cells to increase the total electrical power generated by using two different parts of the sun’s spectrum.
Last month the DOE awarded Yan a $1.1 million grant to continue his research in collaboration with NREL.
“This is the material we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Yan said. “The solar industry is watching and waiting. Some have already started investing in this technology.”
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