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Presentation to illuminate perovskite photovoltaics

EcoNote | November 13, 2015 | By:

The pros and cons of perovskite photovoltaics will be the subject of a presentation at the IDTechEx Show slated for Nov. 18-19 in Santa Clara, Calif.

According to a press release from the tech research firm citing their report “The Rise of Perovskite Solar Cells 2015-2025,” perovskite photovoltaics (PV) efficiency gains are double those of organic photovoltaics; they promise more than 20 percent efficiency, feature low-cost materials and are available in flexible, transparent and stretchable versions for use in electric land vehicles, boats and aircraft.

Ultrathin, flexible, stretchable and lightweight versions have been produced by Johannes Kepler University in Austria, powering a miniature aircraft and airship. With 100 percent yield, exhibiting 12 percent efficiency, they are only 3 micrometers thick.

Organolead halide perovskites are promising, the report says, because they absorb light more efficiently. Research suggests it could power such EIVs (energy independent vehicles) as robotic insects and drones, and its flexibility and stretchability could be useful in bio-electronics.

On the downside, PbI, one of the breakdown products of the perovskite, is both toxic and carcinogenic. A glass panel can be made hermetically sealed, but plastics can be easily pierced. The report calls for a barrier layer to make flexible versions last five to 10 years, without adding significant weight.

The report also finds that the stability of perovskite cells under ambient conditions is a persistent problem. The perovskite decomposes in the presence of water and the decay products attack metal electrodes. Heavy encapsulation to protect perovskite can add to the cell cost and weight. Water vapor penetrating the perovskite can produce reactive iodides that rapidly corrode the metal electrodes.

Progress is being made. New perovskite solar cells with 16 percent efficiency have been developed by researchers from Switzerland and China. Stable and moisture-resistant, the cells overcome some of the problems of perovskites.

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