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Investigating all-manganese flow batteries

Scientists in Germany fabricated an all-manganese flow battery, which they say serves as a proof of concept for the potential of such devices. Their results working with various battery configurations show that cheap, abundant manganese has plenty of potential for flow battery applications; and is worthy of further investigation in the frame of developing sustainable energy storage technologies.

Cathode discovery ‘opens up new pathways’ for calcium-ion storage

Scientists in South Korea tested a new cathode material as part of a calcium-ion battery (CIB), achieving some impressive results. The material retained more than 90% of it initial capacity after 500 cycles, alongside some of the best performance results seen so far for this technology. The scientists say that this discovery opens up “an unexplored pathway toward the realization of stable and high-power cathodes in CIBs.”

Simplifying solar cell deposition

Scientists in Germany have developed a new process for deposition of silicon dioxide layers during cell production. Without the need for high pressure, flammable gases, or vacuum conditions, the process could lead to cost reductions for cell manufacturers, provided it can be developed and applied in a large-scale production setting.

Chinese court upholds laminator patent

German manufacturer Robert Bürkle GmbH has obtained a first instance judgement preventing a rival company from producing equipment that infringes on its patents. The decision of the Intermediate Peoples Court in China is not yet final, and the rival company has already filed a complaint against the ruling.

The weekend read: PV manufacturing meets big data

As PV manufacturing lines continue to get larger, keeping track of the measurement data that’s vital for quality and process control becomes an ever more herculean task. Flashing equipment supplier h.a.l.m. has developed a software solution that keeps all of this data in one place and provides operators with a real-time view of production line performance and quality. pv magazine caught up with Managing Director Michael Meixner to discuss the latest on big data in PV manufacturing.

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Developing standards for solar & wildlife habitat

A group of researchers in the U.S. analyzed recent developments in efforts at dual land use projects, combining solar energy with habitat for pollinators and other wildlife. Based on recent projects and studies, they offer a list of best practices for developing the habitats; and warn that without careful oversight the promising concept could amount to little more than greenwashing.

Perovskite stability, and the effects of defects

An international team of scientists fabricated perovskite solar cells which retained almost all of their initial 21% efficiency after 1,000 hours under continuous operation at their maximum power point. The researchers credit this performance to their discovery of an additive that served to ‘block’ ions that cause device degradation, and also hope their work will contribute to an improved understanding of the relationship between efficiency and stability in perovskite PV.

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A touch of gold for a 19.8% efficient perovskite cell

Scientists in the U.S. fabricated a semitransparent perovskite solar cell that reached 19.8%, and 28.3% in a tandem cell stacked on top of a silicon-heterojunction device. The device relies on a film of gold just a few atoms thick, grown using an innovative seeding method, which has the valuable properties of being both highly conductive and transparent.

Swedish perovskite startup picks up new investment

Norway based renewables investor Magnora has increased its stake in startup equipment supplier Evolar, which is aiming to bring a production line for perovskite solar cells to market. Magnora will now hold a 40.7% stake in the company as part of a long-term deal between the two, with options to further increase the stake available down the line.

Module testing reveals increase in mechanical failures

Last week, testing specialists PV Evolution Labs launched its latest Module Reliability Scorecard, which names more than 100 products from 26 manufacturers as top performers, after being put through their paces in extensive lab testing. This year’s scorecard reveals an increase in modules seeing at least one failure during the testing procedure, with newly added mechanical stress procedures causing the greatest number of failures.

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