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Renewable Energy: Perovskite Solar Cells Break World Efficiency Record

Dec 02, 2016 11:40 AM EST

Engineers from the University of New South Wales have managed to add to the growing benefits of using perovskite solar cells. Aside from being flexible, easily manufactured and cheap, they have now broke a world efficiency record.

During the Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference held on Dec. 2 in Canberra, the team, lead by Senior Research Fellow Anita Ho-Baillie, said that the group has achieved a 12.1 percent efficiency rating for the largest single perovskite photovoltaic cell at 16 square meters, Science Daily reports.

Newport Corp, an international testing center located in Bozeman, Montana has confirmed the test. The test center has also certified two of the team's efficiency ratings: an 18 percent efficiency rating for a 1.2-square-centimeter perovskite cell and an 11.5 percent efficiency rating for a 15-square-centimeter four-cell perovskite mini-module/

"Perovskites came out of nowhere in 2009, with an efficiency rating of 3.8%, and have since grown in leaps and bounds. These results place UNSW amongst the best groups in the world producing state-of-the-art high-performance perovskite solar cells. And I think we can get to 24% within a year or so," said Ho-Baillie via EurekAlert.

Perovskite, as Ho-Baillie notes, is "a very hot area of research" right now as the structure compound offers a new way of revolutionizing solar energy because it's cost-efficient and easy to produce. Besides from being more economic, perovskite is also versatile as it can be sprayed on surfaces, come with different colors or even be transparent.

"The versatility of solution deposition of perovskite makes it possible to spray-coat, print or paint on solar cells. The diversity of chemical compositions also allows cells be transparent, or made of different colours. Imagine being able to cover every surface of buildings, devices and cars with solar cells," Ho-Baillie said.

To date, perovskite is known to have a short lifespan, but the researchers are intent on conducting more research to further prolong its durability as well as aiming a 26 percent efficiency rating.

"We will capitalise on the advantages of perovskites and continue to tackle issues important for commercialisation, like scaling to larger areas and improving cell durability," said Martin Green, Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP).

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