Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

European project breaks efficiency record by converting sunlight in electricity

20.11.2008
Scientists of the Commission-financed project FULLSPECTRUM have developed photovoltaic (PV) multi-junction (MJ) solar cells which are able to convert 39,7 % of the energy of sun light into electricity. This is the highest percentage ever reached in Europe, according to researchers after their final workshop today in El Escorial, Spain.

The main barrier to large-scale deployment of PV systems is the high production cost of electricity, due to the significant capital investment costs. Research is engaged to reduce manufacturing costs and to raise the efficiency of the cells. Today conventional PV cells made of silicon are converting only a fraction of the solar light spectrum around 17%.

FULLSPECTRUM's multi-junction solar cells are able to catch more sun light energy due to their composition of different materials, including gallium, phosphorus, indium and germanium. These multi-junction solar cells are expensive and have only been used for applications in space. However, the cost can be considerably reduced by arranging them in special panels witch include lenses that focus a large amount of solar energy onto the cells. These concentrators can reach far above 1000 times the natural solar power flux and have also been the object of the project research.

FULLSPECTRUM is an integrated project involving 19 European public and industrial research centres from seven EU Member States, as well as Russia and Switzerland. It is coordinated by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Instituto de Energía Solar and started in November 2003 with an overall budget of € 14,7 Million of with the European Commission financed € 8.4 Million.

Background

The European Commission has spent more than € 105 Million in research on photovoltaic energy since the start of Framework Programme 6 in 2002. Many of the projects are trying to get production costs of silicon solar cells down.

Energy research is constituent of the European Union Energy and Climate Package. One of its ambitious targets for 2020 is to increase by up to 20% the level of renewable energy in the EU's overall final energy consumption. To reach this goal the European Commission started the Strategic Energy Technology (SET)-Plan.

The Solar Europe Industrial Initiative as part of the SET-Plan has recently elevated its target for the participation of photovoltaics in the European electricity demand by 2020 from 3% to 12%. This can be translated into installing from 350 up to 400 GW P (Gigawatt of peak capacity) in photovoltaics, corresponding to an average growth of ~40% per year from today's situation.

Back in 2006, the total installed capacity of PV systems in the EU was 3,4 GW P , representing approximately 0,5% of the total EU electrical capacity. The electricity generated by PV was approximately 2,5 TWh (Terawatthour), or 0,1% of the demand. The annual installations of PV systems in 2006 in the EU reached 1250 Megawatt.

Florian Frank | alfa
Further information:
http://www.fullspectrum-eu.org/1_0.html
http://ec.europa.eu

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht How protons move through a fuel cell
22.06.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

nachricht Fraunhofer IZFP acquires lucrative EU project for increasing nuclear power plant safety
21.06.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Zerstörungsfreie Prüfverfahren IZFP

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>