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 A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes
20.07.2018 | Science China Press

nachricht Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers
20.07.2018 | Purdue University

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>