Perovskite breakthrough may fast-track new solar PV technology


Perovskite PV applications have been one of the most-hyped areas for next generation solar PV technology in recent years, with researchers achieving startlingly fast conversion efficiency increases.

It has, however, also been plagued with stability and durability issues, with the material sensitive to moisture contact and high efficiency perovskite cells exhibiting high degradation rates.

Researchers at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) said last week that their work in fashioning a next-generation perovskite PV cell using so-called “quantum dots” had been successfully tested to have better than 10 per cent efficiency.

The work, part of the federal Energy Department’s Sunshot initiative, has also led to development of a method to stabilise the crystalline structure of all-inorganic perovskite material at room temperature rather than only high temperatures, according to Recharge News – a key step in commercialisation of the concept.

By using quantum dots – nanocrystals of cesium lead iodide (CsPbI) – the team has removed the need for the cells unstable organic component, “opening the door” to a high-efficiency perovskite cell that can operate at temperatures ranging from far below zero to well over 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

“Most research into perovskites has centred on a hybrid organic-inorganic structure,” said the NREL team, which was led by Abhishek Swarnkar. “Since research into perovskites for photovoltaics began, their efficiency of converting sunlight into electricity has climbed steadily and now shows greater than 22% power conversion efficiency.

“However, the organic component hasn’t been durable enough for the long-term use of perovskites as a solar cell.

“Contrary to the bulk version of CsPbI, the nanocrystals were found to be stable not only at temperatures exceeding 600F but also at room temperatures and at hundreds of degrees below zero,” said the researchers.

Popular content

“The bulk version of this material is unstable at room temperature, where photovoltaics normally operate and convert very quickly to an undesired crystal structure.”

The 10.77 per cent efficiency is close to that of record quantum dot solar cells of other materials and surpasses other reported all-inorganic perovskite cells, Recharge said.

In Australia, perovskite development is being led by NSW company Dyesol, who in September 2015 claimed to have produced 1cm squared perovskite cells, at around 10 per cent conversion efficiency, and able to withstand accelerated degradation testing for over 1000 hours.

Dyesol’s progress has since been boosted by an ARENA grant of $449,000, which the Agency said would enable the company to create a roadmap to take its perovskite solar cell technology from the lab to a commercially available product.

A report earlier this year from US-based analysts Lux suggest recent advances in perovskite PV could lead to commercial roll-out of the technology “between 2019-21”.

According to Recharge, approaches to cell design have led to a transformative improvement in the economics of the technology, making it increasingly competitive with market-dominant crystalline silicon (CSi) and thin-film, which boast efficiencies of 17-23 per cent.

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy. It was reproduced with permission.

This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact:


Related content

Elsewhere on pv magazine...

Leave a Reply

Please be mindful of our community standards.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.

Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.

You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.

Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.