Nav: Home

Surrey researchers clear runway for tin based perovskite solar cells

June 24, 2019

Researchers at the University of Surrey believe their tin based perovskite solar cell could clear the runway for solar panel technology to take off and help the UK reach its 2050 carbon neutral goal.

As countries look to get to grips with climate change, solar cell technology is rapidly growing in popularity as an environmentally friendly energy alternative. Most commercial solar panels use silicon as the light absorber, which makes the panels rigid, heavy and costly.

Perovskites - a relatively new class of materials - are cheap and have proven to be more efficient at absorbing light than silicon. Unlike silicon, perovskites can be fabricated using solution processable "inks" that allow production of efficient, thin (semi-transparent) and flexible solar panels using low cost materials, while also allowing cell fabrication through roll-to-roll printing. This technology allows for a wide variety of affordable solar panel options, from on-wall panels to window panes. Despite the excellent performances of perovskites solar cells, they do contain toxic lead as an ingredient - which has led environmentally conscious scientists to explore ways of reducing toxicity in the technology while maintaining their high efficiency.

In a study published by the Journal of Materials Chemistry, researchers from Surrey's Advanced Technology Institute (ATI) detail how they have produced a solar cell which contains 50 percent less lead with the more innocuous tin. By finetuning their tin solar cell, researchers were able to create a product that is able to absorb infrared light in a similar manner as silicon cells. Researchers also found that by stacking lead-only cells with the ones mixed with tin can lead to power conversion results that outperform those of silicon-only power cells.

Indrachapa Bandara, lead author of the study and PhD student at ATI, said: "We are starting to see that many countries are treating the threat of climate change with the seriousness it deserves. If we are to get a handle on the problem and put the health of our planet on the right track, we need high-performing renewable energy solutions.

"Our study has shown that tin based perovskite solar cells have an incredible amount of potential and could help countries such as the United Kingdom reach its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050."

Director of the ATI at the University of Surrey and corresponding author Professor Ravi Silva said: "Using solar panels will ultimately allow each of us to contribute to not just solving the energy crisis, but hugely reducing the impact of fossil fuels on climate change. Tin-based perovskite photovoltaics is an upcoming technology that promises major improvements to environmentally friendly and efficient solar panels at a low cost. Our new findings point researchers in the field to gaining higher efficiencies while reducing the toxic impact of the absorber materials."
-end-


University of Surrey

Related Climate Change Articles:

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.
Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).
Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.
Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.
Could climate change cause infertility?
A number of plant and animal species could find it increasingly difficult to reproduce if climate change worsens and global temperatures become more extreme -- a stark warning highlighted by new scientific research.
Predicting climate change
Thomas Crowther, ETH Zurich identifies long-disappeared forests available for restoration across the world.
Historical climate important for soil responses to future climate change
Researchers at Lund University in Sweden, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Amsterdam, examined how 18 years of drought affect the billions of vital bacteria that are hidden in the soil beneath our feet.
Can forests save us from climate change?
Additional climate benefits through sustainable forest management will be modest and local rather than global.
From crystals to climate: 'Gold standard' timeline links flood basalts to climate change
Princeton geologists used tiny zircon crystals found in volcanic ash to rewrite the timeline for the eruptions of the Columbia River flood basalts, a series of massive lava flows that coincided with an ancient global warming period 16 million years ago.
Think pink for a better view of climate change
A new study says pink noise may be the key to separating out natural climate variability from climate change that is influenced by human activity.
More Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.