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A breakthrough in the field of hybrid solar cells

Scientists from the University of Freiburg in Germany have succeeded in developing a method for surface treatment of nanoparticles that improves the efficiency of organic solar cells. The researchers were able to obtain a two percent utilization through the use of quantum dots composed of cadmium selenide.

Solar cells
Solar cells
Scientists from the University of Freiburg in Germany have succeeded in developing a method for surface treatment of nanoparticles that improves the efficiency of organic solar cells. The researchers were able to obtain a two percent utilization through the use of quantum dots composed of cadmium selenide.

These efficiency values, which are far above the existing range of 1.8-1 percent, were verified by the research group. The photoactive layer of hybrid solar cells consists of a mixture of inorganic nanoparticles and an organic polymer. Although it is theoretically possible to apply the method developed by the researchers to many nanoparticles, this breakthrough provides a new ability to increase the efficiency of solar cells of this type even more. A patent was requested for the process and the findings were published in the latest issue of the scientific journal Applied Physics Letters.

Organic solar cells belong to what is known as the third generation of solar cells and are still in their development stages. The world record for fully organic solar cells, a type in which both components of the photoactive layer are organic materials, currently stands at seven percent for layers created by wet chemistry methods. Organic solar cells have many advantages over typical silicon cells used in commercial energy devices: not only are they much thinner and more flexible, they are also cheaper and produced more quickly. Because of this, they are more suitable as energy sources for devices and systems used in everyday life, such as sensors and electrical devices. In the longer term, organic solar cells could significantly reduce our dependence on batteries and capacitors.

"The interdisciplinary nature of our research group, which includes chemists, physicists and engineers, is a clear advantage and contributed greatly to the rapid progress of the project. We are able to carry out all the steps ourselves: starting with the synthesis of the nanoparticles, moving on to adjusting their surface and ending with their combination in composite materials," says the head of the group, Dr. Michael Krüger. The research group is now applying the methods described in their article to other promising material systems, with the aim of further refining them and transferring them to commercial technologies. The prerequisites required for the commercialization of these materials include considerable improvements in efficiency and utilization, increasing the durability of the materials and reducing their production costs.

The news about the study

11 תגובות

  1. In my opinion, instead of using expensive accumulators for the storage of electrical energy, it would be better to build water pools in high places. Then, using the electrical energy generated by the solar cells, the water can be pumped up towards the storage pool.
    While there is no solar radiation, the water can be dropped and with the invention of turbines, the electrical energy can be created when needed.

  2. to Eran m
    I don't think it's a bad deal at all.
    The problem even today (with an efficiency of about 15%) is that the panels take up a lot of space.
    So it's true, it's cheaper, but I think with quite a headache.
    For example: As someone who installs a solar system on the roof, I would very much like a little …….. roof to remain (on a flat roof of course).
    Also, many more panels are needed. And as a result, the infrastructure (the base) is much bigger for them.
    Likewise, a lot more wiring. And of course a much larger area that needs to be dusted, once or twice a year.

    The bottom line is that in the last century, most of the industry is going for the miniaturization of the products and the salvage is higher and higher.

    The way I see it, if they don't reach at least 11-12% efficiency, I don't think more headache will be worth the cheaper price.
    But of course that's just my opinion.

  3. I didn't understand, if they reached 7 percent in completely organic solar cells, then what does it help that in cells that are not completely organic (which, as I understand, is not a good thing and it's better that everything be organic and cheap material) reached 2 percent?

  4. Herzl,
    In my opinion, not necessarily.
    Rather, thinking in the direction of batteries and storage is the archaic element that must be removed from. Instead of converting the energy again and losing another percentage of it in the conversion into and out of the battery - one should think about immediate realization within the grid. Since solar cells are far from being sufficient, the electricity consumed is greater than they can provide. Therefore, it is appropriate to direct this energy to immediate use with as few manipulations as possible that would cause unnecessary losses. When the day comes when harvesting solar energy will be so effective that we can afford to store it and use it both day and night - or then we will start thinking and developing conservation technologies.

    Best regards,
    Ami Bachar

  5. Having great solar cells will not remove the need for batteries and capacitors as the article says, on the contrary. Use of solar cell which is available only about 8 hours a day REQUIRE the storage of the energy for the dark hours, requiring new types of batteries or other storage means such as Hydrogen.

  6. Solar panels based on silicon cadmium and the like today reach a utilization of 10-12% of the energy that reaches them from the sun. With the help of more advanced methods of concentrating rays, they manage to reach a survival that is closer to 20%. These numbers are the translation of light energy that becomes electricity and do not refer to the heat energy that can (and should) be harvested and attached to parallel processes.

    As commenter 3 said, the article is incomprehensible. Commentator 4 refers the issue of the survivor to the economic-financial aspect which could definitely be the original issue discussed in the article. From several years of experience as a scholarly talkbackist, I assume that Dr. Nachmani will not bother to reply to comments on his article this time either. At the same time, I thank him for a number of interesting articles and overall for writing that usually excels in clarity.

    Best regards,
    Ami Bachar

  7. One of Ray Kurzweil's main arguments (in his book, and in his lectures) is that within the next 20 years solar energy will be able to provide approximately 100% (and much more) of the energy needs of all of humanity, thanks to the use of methods based on nanotechnology, and it will also be much more profitable in terms of Cost/benefit over using oil or natural gas -

  8. No, it's about two percent.
    The idea as stated in the article is that the material is very cheap to produce, what silicon would have become with the chip industry would not have continued to use it, but it is still a terrible conductor, and with the help of all kinds of techniques such as quantum dots that is mentioned here, they are actually trying to reach a situation where the material matters less, but only The geometric dimensions. Still, on the assumption that they will succeed in reaching 7-8 percent in the future, in places where the prices of the panels are the significant part relative to the converter and the other vegetables, although you will get half or maybe less of the quality, but a third or less of the price. Sounds like a good deal.

  9. The article is confusing and incomprehensible. I understand that the efficiency of the new cells is 2%, but everything that came after that was not clear to me at all.
    The existing efficiency today is up to 1.8%? And what is the 7% that appears later? And in general what is the efficiency of inorganic solar cells?

    The topic certainly sounds interesting, but it's a shame it wasn't explained clearly in the article.

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