Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sunny times ahead for cheaper solar power

28.03.2003


Greater use of clean electricity from the sun should be a step closer, thanks to new research carried out in the UK.



The research has shown how the cost of generating solar electricity can be reduced, laying the foundation for a major expansion in the use of this sustainable energy technology.

The project has been undertaken by a team of physicists, chemists, material scientists and engineers at Sheffield Hallam University, with funding from the Swindon-based Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Electricity generation through the interaction of the sun’s heat and light with semiconductors is called photovoltaics (PV). Although PV’s environmental benefits are well-known, take-up of the technology has been limited by the relatively high cost of the solar cells that incorporate these semiconductors.

The team at Sheffield Hallam University has been exploring a range of options for cutting costs. These include the use of a low-cost semiconductor production method called electrodeposition, less reliance on expensive semiconductor materials, and the identification of alternative solar cell devices and manufacturing techniques offering higher conversion efficiencies.

Higher conversion efficiencies mean that more power can be produced per cell and that the cost of each unit of electricity generated is reduced. In the past, limited understanding of the scientific principles underlying PV meant that average solar cell efficiencies only improved from 15.9% to 16.5% between 1992 and 2001 for cadmium telluride based solar cells. By formulating a new “model” to describe the photovoltaic activity of these solar cells, the Sheffield Hallam Team has significantly improved this understanding and produced devices with 18% efficiency. This has opened up the prospect of new solar cells being developed commercially with higher conversion efficiencies than those currently available.

The research has been led by Dr I M Dharmadasa, who says: “We’ve already applied for two patents and are preparing the final draft of the third patent in connection with our work, but there’s a lot more science to be explored that could increase conversion efficiencies to over 20% in the near future”.

Jane Reck | alfa

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics
23.03.2017 | North Carolina State University

nachricht TU Graz researchers show that enzyme function inhibits battery ageing
21.03.2017 | Technische Universität Graz

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>