How Can Solar Panels Reach Their Potential?

By Aaryaa Padhyegurjar

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Scientists from the University of Surrey have discovered that combining ferrocene with perovskite materials significantly boosts the effectiveness of perovskite-based solar panels.

Thomas Webb, postgraduate research student and project lead from the University of Surrey, said, “Our research scales these perovskite cells to a minute level, focusing on the chemical compounds and their specific problems. For example, normal practice is to coat, or ‘dope’ cells in lithium, but lithium absorbs water, increasing energy deficiency over time.”

“We discovered an element within organometallic chemistry called ferrocene that significantly improves efficiency and stabilizes the drop in energy that all solar panels have over time; not to mention it is cheap to produce and solves the water absorption problem.” he added. Due to their small weight and enormous cost savings during production, perovskite materials are frequently seen as silicon’s replacement. The difficulties of reproducing lab results in large production has prevented perovskite’s promise from being realised, nevertheless.

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Dr. Wei Zhang, the project lead from the University of Surrey, said, “Silicon cells are efficient but costly to produce; perovskite materials are without a doubt the next generation of photovoltaic technologies. There is still a long way to go to ensure these can be implemented on a mass scale, but with these results, we are a generous step closer to making this a reality.”

Professor Stephen Sweeney, the co-supervisor of the research from the University of Surrey, said, “This is a key development to advance this important new material system at a time when dependable renewable energy sources are of critical global importance. This is also a very satisfying example of how interdisciplinary research and complementary expertise across the partner universities has led to a high impact outcome.”

The research titled “A Multifaceted Ferrocene Interlayer for Highly Stable and Efficient Lithium Doped Spiro-OMeTAD-based Perovskite Solar Cells” was published in Advanced Energy Materials. Click here to access the paper.


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