Remember back when plastic was a new and exciting thing? That’s more or less where we are with that other p-word, perovskites. Legions of scientists around the world have been trying to tease a durable solar cell out of this optically-promising but fussy material, and it looks like a team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has put its finger on the solution.
Did we mention that perovskites are cheap and could be manufactured at high volume, too? Until recently natural gas was the main driver pushing coal out of the power generation business, but renewable energy is also becoming a force to be reckoned with, and its influence will grow stronger as the cost of photovoltaic modules continues to drop.
Another Perovskite Solar Cell Breakthrough
Perovskite is a natural occurring mineral with good optical properties, and its crystalline structure can be replicated with relative ease. NREL, for one, is a huge fan of synthetic perovskites for the low cost solar cells of the future, but the problem is that they deteriorate quickly when exposed to ambient air.
That’s quite an Achilles heel, right?
In the latest perovskite development, the NREL team seems to have solved that little thing about air. Here’s the teaser from the lab:
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created an environmentally stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cell, bringing the emerging technology a step closer to commercial deployment.
Do tell! The research team successfully tested a perovskite solar cell in ambient conditions without protection for 1,000 hours, and it retained 94% of its conversion efficiency.