Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Nano-tuned Solar Cells

Abstract:
Solar cells that are more effective and cost less in production: Within the EU-project N2P (Nano to Product) researchers developed nano tuned surfaces to gain both.

Nano-tuned Solar Cells

Italy | Posted on May 18th, 2011

The sun has enough power to supply the whole earth with energy. But as long as renewable energy is more expensive than energy produced by coal or nuclear plants, solar energy won't be first choice. In Europe photovoltaic cells make only a vanishing small share of renewable energy sources.

Researchers in UK, Switzerland and Germany aim to lower the costs and increase the efficiency. The N2P project is coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology in Dresden, Germany. Here researchers developed a process to enhance the absorption qualities of solar cells for an invisible yet important part of sunlight, infrared light. Conventional solar cells hardly make use of this wavelength. Most of it passes through the cell and is lost. By removing the nano structured surface of the wafer on the rear side of the solar cell, using a chemical etching process, it is turns into a "mirror" that reflects the infrared rays back into the cell.

As the light rays are scattered by the glass, they have a longer pathway through the silicon cell and thus generate more electrical current. So far the researchers were able to increase the efficiency by 30 percent if compared to the efficiency of standard thin film solar cells.

Researchers from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, are working on thin film solar cells. Thin film solar cells have on the one hand a lot of advantages: Producing them consumes less raw materials and energy than producing common solar cells. Additionally the time they need to pay off is shorter. On the other hand there is a drawback: currently their efficiency is about 40 percent lower than in conventional solar cells. Only seven percent of the sunlight can be exploited.

To maximize the light trapping effect they do the opposite: they roughen the glass surface of thin film solar cells. This is done to diffuse the light. When the light beam has a longer way through the cell it generates more electrons.

To roughen the upper surface Dr. Sylvain Nicolay from EPFL deposits a layer of crystals of a so called transparent conductive oxide onto the glass. "The larger the nano sized pyramids are, the higher is the diffusion", he says. The efficiency of thin film solar cells is now improved from seven to ten percent.

The nano crystals Dr Nicolay uses were developed at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK. Until recently the nano crystals had to be imported from Japan and made the production of such solar cells very expensive. Now the scientists are testing the crystals they developed on their own. The aim is to produce them much cheaper and thus reduce the costs significantly.

Each single method of improving the solar cells can only make a small difference on their efficiency. But combining both, these nano-tuned solar cells will become considerably more competitive than the modules of the past.

Corinna Luecke - youris.com

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Elisabeth Schmid
Phone: +390272002572
Fax: +390272002540
E-mail:

Copyright © youris.com

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related Links

video available at:

Related News Press

News and information

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Math gets real in strong, lightweight structures: Rice University researchers use 3-D printers to turn century-old theory into complex schwarzites November 16th, 2017

The stacked color sensor: True colors meet minimization November 16th, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 6th Annual NYC Investor Summit 2017 November 16th, 2017

Videos/Movies

Math gets real in strong, lightweight structures: Rice University researchers use 3-D printers to turn century-old theory into complex schwarzites November 16th, 2017

Announcements

ICN2 researchers compute unprecedented values for spin lifetime anisotropy in graphene November 17th, 2017

Math gets real in strong, lightweight structures: Rice University researchers use 3-D printers to turn century-old theory into complex schwarzites November 16th, 2017

The stacked color sensor: True colors meet minimization November 16th, 2017

Nanometrics to Participate in the 6th Annual NYC Investor Summit 2017 November 16th, 2017

Energy

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health November 4th, 2017

New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater: Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions October 4th, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

Alliances/Trade associations/Partnerships/Distributorships

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Fudan Team to Deliver Next Generation Dual Interface Smart Card November 14th, 2017

Leti Coordinating Project to Develop Innovative Drivetrains for 3rd-generation Electric Vehicles: CEA Tech’s Contribution Includes Liten’s Knowhow in Magnetic Materials and Simulation And Leti’s Expertise in Wide-bandgap Semiconductors October 20th, 2017

More 22 of 59,885 Print all In new window Leti to Present Update of CoolCube/3DVLSI Technologies Development at 2017 IEEE S3S: Future Developments and Tape-Out Vehicles to Be Presented during Oct. 17 Workshop October 12th, 2017

Research partnerships

EC Project Aims at Creating and Commercializing Cyber-Physical-System Solutions November 14th, 2017

Leti Joins DARPA-Funded Project to Develop Implantable Device for Restoring Vision November 9th, 2017

Nanoshells could deliver more chemo with fewer side effects: In vitro study verifies method for remotely triggering release of cancer drugs November 8th, 2017

Ames Laboratory, UConn discover superconductor with bounce October 25th, 2017

Solar/Photovoltaic

Inorganic-organic halide perovskites for new photovoltaic technology November 6th, 2017

New nanomaterial can extract hydrogen fuel from seawater: Hybrid material converts more sunlight and can weather seawater's harsh conditions October 4th, 2017

Researchers set time limit for ultrafast perovskite solar cells September 22nd, 2017

Copper catalyst yields high efficiency CO2-to-fuels conversion: Berkeley Lab scientists discover critical role of nanoparticle transformation September 20th, 2017

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project