Scientists from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Korea, Japan and Switzerland partnered to help perovskite solar cells become competitive. Perovskite solar cells are garnering interest as one of the most likely next generation solar power technologies. They’re cheap and easy to produce but barriers still remain to their practical production and use.
The new, international collaboration, is between NREL Scientists Keith Emery and Kai Zhu who are collaborating with Nam-Gyu Park (Korea), Michael Grätzel (Switzerland) and Tsutomu Miyasaka (Japan). The researchers are working to develop halide perovskite solar cells with an organic cation (a positively charged ion) such as methylammonium and/or formamidinium. The materials have attracted attention because of their excellent photovoltaic properties, which, over that past few years have produced solar cells that went from being just a few percent efficient to more than 22 percent efficient.
Indeed, research out earlier this year showed that perovskites could reach even higher efficiency levels, levels as high as 31 percent efficiency. Other research shows that when coupled with another layer photovoltaic materials perovskite solar cells could reach 40 percent efficiency levels.
NREL observed, however, that the technology is not yet ready for market. The perovskite devices need to be designed for longevity, reliable performance and mass manufacturing. Sungkyunkwan University’s Park initiated the effort to find the solutions. NREL’s participation in the project is supported by the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.
In "Towards Stable and Commercially Available Perovskite Solar Cells," a paper published in Nature Energy, the group introduced its strategy. The strategy includes: “Developing a reproducible manufacturing method that takes into account managing grain boundaries and interfacial charge transport, recovering and utilizing the lead in PSCs to address environmental concerns…and ensuring the advance of practical applications through reliable device characterization.”Tweet