Looking back over lithium

Already responsible for changing the way we communicate and power portable devices, lithium-ion technology is now driving revolutions in both transport and energy supply the world over. A new paper published by Arumugam Manthiram of the University of Texas at Austin examines the technology’s development, from initial discoveries made in the 1970s to the considerations of today’s researchers working on the ‘batteries of the future’.

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Carbon nanotubes pave the way for silicon in storage

Scientists in the United States have developed a carbon nanotube method of fabricating a lithium-ion battery with a silicon anode. The device reportedly demonstrated better than 87% capacity retention after 1,500 cycles. The developers say their discovery overcomes many of the obstacles to the use of silicon as an anode and could open up the use of other materials for electrodes in lithium-ion devices.

TOPCon technology hits 23.5% in mass production

Chinese manufacturer Jolywood claims it has reached 23.5% cell efficiency on the production lines for its n-type TOPCon technology. The achievement, which has not been verified by a third party, represents a 0.3% improvement to Jolywood’s reported mass production efficiency.

Preventing PID at 1500 volts

Scientists in Germany have developed a “heavy duty” test to provide insight into the long term effects of potential induced degradation in PV modules. The tests go well beyond those established by IEC standards and seek to guide manufacturers and investors on the best choice of materials – encapsulants in particular – when it comes to long term PID resistance.

Focus on the negatives: A new path to highly efficient tandem cells

Scientists in the U.S. and South Korea have identified what could be a new route to high-efficiency perovskite-silicon tandem solar cells. Through engineering negatively charged particles in the passivation layer, the group made a tandem cell with 26.7% efficiency. With further tweaks to the silicon layer they expect to be able to surpass 30%.

A battery breakthrough for titanium cathodes

Scientists in Moscow have developed a titanium-based electrode material for metal-ion batteries they claim challenges the perceived wisdom of the element’s cathode potential and which could give researchers a ‘playground’ for the design of sustainable, cost-effective, titanium-based electrodes.

Ripple effects of Covid-19

Manufacturing operations in China are beginning to return to normal, with Taiwan-based research firm PV InfoLink reporting 80% capacity utilization across the supply chain in March. But the broader impact that Covid-19 will have on global demand for PV remains to be seen, and will depend on the extent to which the outbreak can be contained, says PV InfoLink chief analyst Corrine Lin.

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Four challenges to solid-state battery scale-up

A paper by scientists at the University of California San Diego has outlined a technology roadmap for the development of solid-state batteries – and four challenges to address for the technology to advance.

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Change at the top for Meyer Burger after €37m loss

The Swiss PV equipment supplier posted the loss for 2019, citing increasingly fierce competition in China, and plans to continue a strategic realignment of its business with the options including the establishment of a European PV manufacturing operation.

Is green hydrogen necessary to balance a renewables grid?

A report by Norwegian energy consultant DNV GL has considered the opportunity for long-term energy storage to play a role in balancing annual supply and demand fluctuations in a renewables-led grid. Using 58 years of Dutch weather and energy consumption data, the study found long-term solutions such as green hydrogen could make a valuable contribution – but perhaps not as much as some analysts believe.

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