Scientists develop solar cells for windows

Most agree that solar power is the next “big thing” when it comes to energy. With potentially infinite amount of energy that can be generated thanks to the Sun with relatively limited negative impact on the climate change, solar power has been something heavily in development.

However, as it has been until now, solar panels require an excessive amount of space and silicon, which is currently known to be the most efficient material for solar panels, is not transparent. This is a problem as based on energy use distribution, cities consume the most amount of energy but lack the space to generate that electricity based on current capabilities.

However, scientists have now developed a new transparent solar panel based on organic or carbon-based material to be used as window-friendly solar panels. Published in the science journal, Nature Communcications, the panel uses molecules that move photogenerated electrons to the electrodes, called non-fullerene acceptors. These acceptors when incorporated with sulfur, can reach efficiencies of 18% but have a short lifespan.

However, Yongxi Li (first author) have since figured out how to strengthen the non-fullerene acceptors; specifically, it would need to block off UV rays by adding a coating of zinc oxide, a sunscreen component on the side facing the Sun.

Then, the researchers added carbon-based material called IC-SAM as a buffer to solve this issue, and added another buffer layer in a form of fullerene shaped like a soccer ball.

Then they tested this new panel, from 1 sun to 27 suns, and temperatures as high as 65 degrees celsius. Result? These new solar cells would function at 80% efficiency after 30 years based on declination of performance.

Furthermore, these materials can be prepared as liquids, so the manufacturing and transportation costs might be incredibly lower than the current silicon-based solar panels. Thus, it might increase feasibility for wide scale use in large skyscrapers, but also on residential properties.

It is an exciting day for solar power and global energy self-sufficiency.

Coree ILBO copyright (c) 2013-2021, All rights reserved.

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