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:

The black forest and climate change
Silver and Douglas firs could replace Norway spruce in the long run due to their greater resistance to droughts.
For some US counties, climate change will be particularly costly
A highly granular assessment of the impacts of climate change on the US economy suggests that each 1°Celsius increase in temperature will cost 1.2 percent of the country's gross domestic product, on average.
Climate change label leads to climate science acceptance
A new Cornell University study finds that labels matter when it comes to acceptance of climate science.
Was that climate change?
A new four-step 'framework' aims to test the contribution of climate change to record-setting extreme weather events.
It's more than just climate change
Accurately modeling climate change and interactive human factors -- including inequality, consumption, and population -- is essential for the effective science-based policies and measures needed to benefit and sustain current and future generations.
Climate change scientists should think more about sex
Climate change can have a different impact on male and female fish, shellfish and other marine animals, with widespread implications for the future of marine life and the production of seafood.
Climate change prompts Alaska fish to change breeding behavior
A new University of Washington study finds that one of Alaska's most abundant freshwater fish species is altering its breeding patterns in response to climate change, which could impact the ecology of northern lakes that already acutely feel the effects of a changing climate.
Uncertainties related to climate engineering limit its use in curbing climate change
Climate engineering refers to the systematic, large-scale modification of the environment using various climate intervention techniques.
Public holds polarized views about climate change and trust in climate scientists
There are gaping divisions in Americans' views across every dimension of the climate debate, including causes and cures for climate change and trust in climate scientists and their research, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.
The psychology behind climate change denial
In a new thesis in psychology, Kirsti Jylhä at Uppsala University has studied the psychology behind climate change denial.

Related Climate Change Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...