From basic idea to implementation: University of Konstanz, Germany, invested 10 years of research and development work: Under operating conditions, however, Cz-silicon solar cells suffer from so-called light-induced degradation (LID), due to which the efficiency of a Cz-silicon solar cell is considerably reduced after only a few hours of exposure to solar radiation. Depending on the material and production process, the loss in efficiency can be more than one percent absolute.
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Konstanz in patenting and marketing its innovation.
One of the biggest challenges in the context of ‘renewable energies` is the even more efficient use of the raw materials available to us. Particularly when it comes to generating electricity from sunlight, a lot of research is carried out on how to further increase conversion efficiency of solar cells.
In the past decade, the efficiency of solar cells in industrial mass production has been continuously improved. About 15 years ago, solar cells were able to convert only approx. 15 percent of solar radiation into electricity. In the meantime, efficiency could be increased to approx. 20 percent.
This excellent efficiency is only reached on industrial scale with monocrystalline solar cells using silicon wafers grown by the Czochralski (Cz) technique. Under operating conditions, however, Cz-silicon solar cells suffer from so-called light-induced degradation (LID), due to which the efficiency of a Cz-silicon solar cell is considerably reduced after only a few hours of exposure to solar radiation. Depending on the material and production process, the loss in efficiency can be more than one percent absolute.
Researchers at the Photovoltaics Division of the University of Konstanz introduced a method to neutralize this type of degradation as early as in 2006. The process developed and optimized over the years by Axel Herguth, Svenja Wilking and Professor Giso Hahn can easily be integrated into the production process. The scientists made use of the fact that the degraded solar cells can be regenerated by exposing them to light energy at temperatures above 100 degrees Celsius. Alternatively, regeneration can also be achieved using voltage instead of light.
The regeneration process can be integrated at different stages into the production sequence, for solar cells, e.g., directly after the co-firing process or separately at the end of production. Another option is to apply the regeneration process to finished modules.
The economic potential of the regeneration effect is enormous: If the degradation-caused loss in efficiency of one percent absolute is nearly completely offset, this results in an additional power output of approx. five percent. With a 100 MWp line, this corresponds to more than one million euros per year.
"This means the return on invest is secured after only a few months, which significantly increases economic attractiveness and the opportunities for use of this groundbreaking technology," explains Professor Hahn, Head of Photovoltaic Division at the University of Konstanz.
Patents for the process and the regeneration furnace have already been granted in the most important industrial nations and regions such as in the United States, in Europe and China. In the meantime, first installations based on the patented method have been integrated into production processes. However, it is also likely that a number of imitation products have appeared on the market. "Our key challenge for the coming years will be to enforce the patents held by the University of Konstanz," says Dr.-Ing. Hubert Siller, Innovation Manager at TLB, Karlsruhe.
In recent years, this well-known method has been further developed and modified by Axel Herguth and Svenja Wilking, who are engaged in research at the University of Konstanz. The enhanced process control allows the regeneration process to be carried out much faster during the co-firing step. According to the researchers, this is due to a larger amount of hydrogen released from the silicon nitride anti-reflective coating into the silicon during co-firing. The process can thus be sped up considerably, improving its efficiency and making it attractive for inline processes in industrial mass production, for example. Ideally, this process may follow or even be integrated into the co-firing step. Professor Hahn is optimistic about the future: "We are confident that the regeneration method discovered and developed by our team of researchers will become an integral part of a lot of new solar cell production lines because it helps to achieve the high level of stable efficiency that is required by the market. Moreover, current production lines can be retrofitted with minimal effort by using this unique regeneration technology.”
Technologie-Lizenz-Büro (TLB) GmbH supports the University of Konstanz in patenting and marketing its innovation. Acting on behalf of the University, TLB is in charge of the commercial implementation of this future-orientated technology at a global level. For more detailed information, please contact Dr.-Ing. Hubert Siller, email: email@example.com
Annette Siller | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Fraunhofer ISE Supports Market Development of Solar Thermal Power Plants in the MENA Region
21.02.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE
New tech for commercial Lithium-ion batteries finds they can be charged 5 times fast
20.02.2018 | University of Warwick
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy