Technology and R&D

New metallization tech to reduce microcracks in solar cells

A U.S. research group has developed a metal-carbon-nanotube composite – MetZilla – which can be embedded in commercial, screen-printable silver pastes and is said to reduce the formation of hotspots in solar modules and to prolong panel lifespan. The composite metal contacts are also ‘self-healing’ as they are able to regain electrical continuity after cycles of complete electrical failure caused by extreme strain.

MiaSolé breaks its own record for flexible CIGS

The California-based Hanergy subsidiary has broken its efficiency record for a large area, flexible CIGS module, achieving 18.64% on a device with a 1.08m² aperture. The record has been confirmed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems.

Indium provides a boost to perovskite stability

Scientists at Rice University in the United States have found by strategically adding indium to an all-inorganic, lead-based perovskite, they can reduce the number of defects in the material and improve its efficiency, as well as providing a significant boost to stability.

New material for radiative cooling of solar panels

Spanish researchers have discovered a material said to offer radiative cooling and self-cleaning of devices which undergo critical heating during operation, such as PV panels. The thermal emitter enabled the scientists to lower the daytime temperature of silicon wafers by 14 degrees Celsius.

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Industry waits in anticipation of a Green Deal for Europe

Amid high hopes for the European Commission presidency that is about to start, attendees at a recent event in Berlin tempered optimism by renewing calls for an industrial policy for the bloc.

ABB touts AI-supported industrial energy consumption management tool

A new application for ABB’s ‘Ability’ digital platform enables industrial customers to avoid peak charges without using of battery storage. The Swiss corporation has developed two apps for its energy management software with the help of an artificial intelligence specialist.

New rules for lithium-sulfur selection

Scientists at the United States’ Argonne National Laboratory worked with a class of electrolyte materials they say could greatly improve the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries. The group has devised a selection rule which it says will help researchers select the most suitable electrolyte materials for different battery systems.

Saving water with solar and wind

Scientists at Princeton have found solar and wind energy offer the added environmental benefit of reducing water usage, by comparison with hydroelectric dams. Their findings, say the researchers, could have a positive impact on groundwater sustainability in drought-prone regions such as California, where they conducted a case study.

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Pyrazine polymer PHATNs up cathode in sodium-ion batteries

Scientists at the University of Maryland have developed an organic polymer electrode which they claim demonstrates stable function for a sodium-ion battery over 50,000 cycles and also offers encouraging performance in magnesium-ion and aluminum-ion storage devices.

French consortium develops hybrid storage and co-generation system

The Smart Energy Hub can operate in electrolysis mode to store renewable energy as hydrogen, or in fuel cell mode to produce electricity and heat from previously produced hydrogen or methane. Its developers are the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission and start-up Sylfen.

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