Future perspectives on solid-state storage

Solid-state batteries are viewed by many as the most promising technology to succeed lithium-ion in many energy storage applications. But there are still plenty of barriers to large-scale use of this type of battery. An international team of scientists has reviewed recent progress with the technology, and examined the form and chemistry that commercial solid-state batteries might take.

How to make rooftop PV resilient in hurricane regions

A report published by the Rocky Mountain Institute makes recommendations for rooftop PV in regions affected by high winds. The study draws on the knowledge of structural engineers asked to analyze 25 solar systems across five Caribbean islands after they were hit by major hurricanes in 2017 and last year.

A quantum dot solar cell with 16.6% efficiency

Scientists at Australia’s University of Queensland have set a new world efficiency record for a quantum dot solar cell. The group fabricated a 0.1cm² device from a perovskite material and measured power conversion efficiency at 16.6%. The record has been verified by the United States National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Bridging the gap between battery and supercapacitor

By engineering the structure of a hard carbon electrode, scientists at the CIC energIGUNE research center have created an ‘ultrafast battery’ which has been shown to combine the energy density of a lithium device with the fast discharge times normally associated with supercapacitors.

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The path to market for perovskites

MIT scientists have taken a deep dive into solar technology markets in search of an economically sustainable path to commercialization for perovskites. The group estimates $1 billion of capital expenditure would be required to achieve the economies of scale necessary to compete with rival solar module technologies. However, several alternative suggestions for scaling up with lower investment costs were also considered.

Healing the cracks for a more stable perovskite

Scientists in the United States have demonstrated simple methods for ‘healing’ the cracks that form in perovskite solar cells. While it is far from clear how the approach could be applied commercially, the work suggests possibilities for maintaining the performance of perovskite cells in long-term operation.

The inner workings of a lithium battery

An international group of scientists has developed a comprehensive method to track the microscopic processes at work in lithium batteries. Employing a ‘virtual unrolling’ model developed for ancient manuscripts too sensitive to be opened, the group peeked inside the layers of a commercial battery to gain a better understanding of the processes at work and the degradation mechanisms affecting them. Their findings, the group says, could provide a benchmark for battery characterization.

Japanese scientists trial printing on perovskite

Researchers from three Japanese universities have developed a process based on inkjet printing they say could reduce the cost of perovskite solar cell production. The group fabricated small cells with efficiencies as high as 13.19%, a figure they claim is promising enough to offer the possibility of scaling up to commercial production.

Perovskite production without the side-effects

Chemists from Russia’s RUDN University have developed a series of compounds based on methylammonium iodide and iodine which they say could be used to make perovskite solar devices without toxic solvents. That would enable perovskite cells to be manufactured without chemical by-products.

Recycling heat for a ‘385% efficient’ solar desalinator

MIT scientists have developed a solar desalinator which transports heat from the sun through a ten-stage process of evaporation and condensation. The group estimates a $100 device employing their innovation could provide the daily drinking water needs of a family.

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