The future of solar energy passes through perovskites. And they are one step closer to being commercially viable.

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Perovskites take a step forward to revolutionize photovoltaic energy. Researchers of the Princeton University They have just developed the first solar cell with this material that reaches a useful life that is commercially viable. Based on the team’s calculations, your device may perform beyond industry standards for about three decades, which far exceeds the 20 years that are usually set as the viability threshold. Its durability and efficiency levels make it a strong competitor to silicon-based cells.

Today about 95% of the panels are made with silicon, a material that has dominated the market since the mid-1950s. Perovskites —a family of materials with a crystalline structure— present, however, some important advantages for the development of solar cells: they can be manufactured at room temperature and with less energy than silicon, making their production much cheaper and more sustainable. Unlike silicon, which is rigid and opaque, perovskites can also be transparent and flexible, which gives them greater versatility.

It’s not all strengths, of course. Perovskites can be more malleable, but they are also brittle and, at least initially, very short-lived. The first cells, developed between 2009 and 2012, they only lasted a few minutes. Over the years, this handicap has been overcome and the new device now exceeds the previous record, set in 2017, by five times. Given the same laboratory conditions, with continuous lighting and room temperature, it would work for five years.

“Project in an impressive way”

For Lynn Loo, a professor at Princeton University, as or more important than the device developed by his team is the method that you have developed to test it.

Beyond the cell’s durability record or the fact that it has scratched a new record, the team has achieved develop a system that allows testing and anticipating the response of perovskite cells over the years, something that until now was not a priority due to the high fragility of the material. “What’s really exciting is that we now have a way to test these devices and see how they’ll perform in the long term.” comment.

“By creating a prototype to study stability and show what can be extrapolated [a través de pruebas aceleradas], is doing the work everyone wants to see before scaled-up field testing begins. It allows to project in a really impressive way”, adds Joseph Berry, from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, in a university statement. The process of accelerated aging It also helps to assess another key factor of the devices: their stability, an essential requirement for their general use in industry.

30yr Perovskite Solar Cell Loo Device Close For Web Sm

As pointed out in 2021 by Ignacio Mártil de la Plaza, Ph.D. in Physics and Professor of Electronics at the Complutense Universityperovskites, a generic name with which we refer to a family of materials with a crystalline structure, is “the holy grail” of photovoltaic technologies.

“They are cheap, easy to manufacture and when they are combined in tandem with silicon they are around 30% efficient”, explains the expert: “Their enormous interest in photovoltaics stems from properties that make them ideal from a theoretical point of view for convert solar energy into electricity. Even then, Mártil indicated that one of the great disadvantages of the material is how fast they degrade in contact with the environment, with a high sensitivity to humidity and heat.

The commitment to new materials also comes in a key context, with renewables already generating 40% of the energy in Spain and a prominent weight of wind and solar. “With the plans to install new photovoltaic and wind power plants 10 years from now, I have no great doubt that this will be a fact. I believe that when this decade ends, we will be able to generate one hundred percent of the electricity from renewable sources” , Mártil pointed out in 2020.

Images | Princeton University

Perovskites take a step forward to revolutionize photovoltaic energy. Researchers of the Princeton University They have just developed the first…

Perovskites take a step forward to revolutionize photovoltaic energy. Researchers of the Princeton University They have just developed the first…

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