Posts Tagged ‘silicone’

8 August

Dr. Christopher Case (of Oxford PV) Discusses Game-Changing Future Transformer of Solar Power Generation-Perovskite Based Solar Cell Technology

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,


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I  saved the most potential game-changing solar technology in the last interview spot, the update of Perovskite-based solar cell technology with the Chief Technology Officer of Oxford PV, Dr. Christopher Case, of this series of Intersolar North America 2015 interviews. Recalling one of our earlier posts, I wrote about Perovskite, a calcium titanium oxide mineral discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia in 1839. This new old material is generating quite an explosive buzz because scientists have found, in recent years, that it is a great material to be used in solar absorption applications. It can be made simply and inexpensively by using common wet chemistry lab methods and low cost equipments instead of the expensive deposition equipments common in the semiconductor industry. To take a look at how this process is made cheap and accessible, I’m sharing the video below:


These solar (photovoltaic) cells are made in tandem (layer by layer) fashion on a specially coated glass support. In the video above:

  1. the glass is coated with a dense layer of titanium dioxide, by robotic arm, to prevent electrical charge generated by sunlight from leaking out of the cell.
  2. a less dense porous oxide layer covers the dense oxide layer (usually titanium dioxide, other oxides may also be used).
  3. a simple high speed spin coater deposits this layer from solution and spreads this coating evenly across the device.
  4. heating this glass/device in an oven conditions it for solar cell use.
  5. prepare the Perovskite material (which absorbs in the broad range of solar spectrum) by combining 2 precursor materials:   PbI2 (lead iodide) & CH6IN (methylammonium iodide)
  6. drip the liquid phase mixture (from 5.) onto the oxide coated device (from 4.)
  7.  spin the resulting device in 6 to assure even coating
  8.  applying halide solution
  9.  heating the device resulting from 8 on a hot plate–>spontaneously crystallizes precursors in freshly deposited liquid
  10.  color changes also result from crystallization process resulting from 9.

Such tandem product has the advantage of being able to be introduced into existing infrastructure of current silicon module manufacturing process, boosting its efficiency. With added few steps toward the end of the production line, the coating (equivalent to second solar cell) takes advantage of the blue portion of the solar spectrum and may improve the solar cell efficiency by 20-25% above the underlying silicon. The fact that Perovskite-based solar cell technology is of earth abundant material also insures its availability and low cost. Its high absorption in solar spectrum enables it to have comparable characteristics to that of gallium arsenide. Its ability to change its sensitivity to different band gaps in solar spectrum allows it to make different architectures in tandem solar cells. It can truly be considered as the Custom Solar Absorber! In short term,  Perovskite-based solar cell may boost the efficiency level of existing technology and in the long term, it may be a stand-alone technology with closer efficiency level to that of gallium arsenide but at a much lower cost. It may potentially be sprayed, ink-jet printed, dip-coated, etc. It is no wonder that Dr. Case commented, “the perovskite in solar application is the fastest increasing photovoltaic efficiency of any solar photovoltaic thin film material ever! In just a few years, it went from a lab efficiency of about 6% to well over 17%…the material is a very good solar absorber….bringing the material to 25% efficiency in a monolithic layer and 30%+ in a perovskite tandem layer….potentially the future replacement for silicon.”

The perovskite thin-film solar cells, is currently being developed by Oxford PV (a spin-out from the University of Oxford in 2009-2010 to commercialize this technology, which has exclusively licensed the intellectual property developed by Professor Henry Snaith and his team of 20 scientists). Below, Professor Henry Snaith will embellish upon the development of this solar technology:

Oxford PV plans on continuing to optimize this technology’s cell efficiency and accelerate the transfer of the technology into production. Furthermore, it aims to develop the range of substrates to which the cells can be applied. With its promising future, we, the solar enthusiasts and investors alike, should keep our eyes on Oxford PV in the coming years. In the next few years, we anticipate that Dr. Henry Snaith and his team of scientists will continue to tackle challenges in trap densities, doping densities, mobility, mechanisms for free carrier generations, etc., to further improve device performance. You will find that many in the solar industry share the optimism of Professor Henry Snaith and Dr. Christopher Case.

For those of you interested in more details about Perovskite-based solar cell technology, please refer to the two videos below:

1. Introducing Perovskite Solar Cells to Undergraduates:


2. Perovskite Solar Cells: From Device Fabrication to Device Degradation-Timothy Kelly:

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, edited, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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31 May

The Dutch Has Shown Us How To Produce Solar Energy & Art Via Bike Paths

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Dear Friends, Visitors/Viewers/Readers,

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  notrickszone.com.)

Solar Bike Path of Netherlands, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: notrickszone.com.)

(Please click on red links & note magenta)

My associations with people from Netherlands have always been extremely positive, enthusiastic, optimistically ambitious. So, it was not surprising that during Nov. of 2014 the Dutch (people from Netherlands) developed the first Solar Bike Path (with embedded solar cells) in the world, outside Amsterdam connecting the suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer! This Dutch project integrated solar panels into a bike commuter path to generate power to be funneled into the national energy grid.  The crystalline silicone solar cells are encased in two layers of tempered safety glass, mounted in a concrete housing.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: npr.org)

According to SolaRoad, it’s been a challenge to produce energy-producing slabs that are both durable and rideable by thousands of cyclists per day. “It has to be translucent for sunlight and repel dirt as much as possible,” the company says. “At the same time, the top layer must be skid resistant and strong enough in order to realize a safe road surface.” This $3.7 million project is a collaboration between the research group TNO and the government of North Holland. Its technical aspects may be found in Phys Org site.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

Active Solar Bike Path of Netherland, first in the world, installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit: pri.org)

This 70-meter or 230 feet (over two-third of the length of an NFL football field) section solar bike path is flat instead of angled to optimally take advantage of the sun, therefore the path’s panel will produce about 70% of what similar panel might produce on a rooftop.  With approximately 87,000 miles of roadways, Netherlands’s total road surface area is much larger than that of rooftops.

This project is the first step that the local government hopes will extend to 100 meter (or 328 feet) by 2016. Now that it’s been half year into the installation of the solar bike path, it’s become clear that the solar panels are outperforming expectations, having already generated 3,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity. This is fantastic! In a space that previously generated no clean electricity, now it is functioning well and ready for further development and expansion. I have no doubt that the cost and overall efficiency of any solar roadway will continue to improve as more and more visionaries collaborate to enable such Clean Solar Renewable Dream of Solar Roadway to become a reality. Our hats off to the visionaries in Netherlands!

Another solar bike path later unveiled in the same month, but in the city of Eindhoven, Netherland, of the passive solar form, is inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”, below:

 

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (credit: thisistange.com.)

Passive Solar Bike Path (at night) of Eindhoven, Netherland, also being installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: thisistange.com.)

(Be sure to view the whole  video below, “Visions of Public Art: by Daan Roosegaarde”….you won’t regret it….)


Of course, it is the Dutch who would embrace a challenge by innovating first, by being efficient, in being artistic while pragmatic and remaining connected to both the past and the future……look at the Solar Bike Path at night, an inspiration by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night”.

Solar Bikepath of Netherland, first in the world, being installed in Nov. of 2014 (credit:  dogonews.com)

Passive Solar Bike Path in Eindhoven, Netherland, installed in Nov. of 2014, inspired by Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (credit: dogonews.com)

Our future would be simply breath-takingly beautiful, if we don’t destroy our planet first…there lies the beauty of Solar Energy…for it is the answer to Energy-Pollution-Economic Prosperity-Climate Change-International Conflicts. SO, LET’S USE IT !

As long as we’re on the subject of solar roadway, let me remind you of the Indiegogo campaign here at sunisthefuture.net for Scott & Julie Brusaw of Idaho, asking for $1 million but ended up raising more than $2.2 million for their Solar Roadway R & D project. Yes, it is exciting to live in a world where dreamers and visionaries are in many places!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any comments and suggestions are welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

Please also get into the habit of checking at these sites below for more on solar energy topics:

www.sunisthefuture.net

www.youtube.com/user/sunisthefuture

www.kiva.org/team/sunisthefuture

www.facebook.com/sunisthefuture

www.pinterest.com/sunisthefuture

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