New Light-Absorbing Material Gains Traction

Perovskite, a light-absorbing material found in the Ural Mountains is gaining a lot of attention amongst green builders and solar technology proponents. According to the folks over at Green Building Elements, the substance has gained quite a bit of traction over at the Department of Energy’s National Jake GlavisRenewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) who are conducting extensive research to discover the full range of its applications.

Its a bit technical, but the NREL’s interest resides in the large length of electron pairs in what are called “mesostructured perovskite solar cells.” David Ginley, a well-known materials scientist and NREL research fellow, has said that what is of interest in perovskite device structures is that they have the ability to diffuse photons over a long distance when processed in a liquid solution. What this means is that electrons will not be as likely to recombine resulting in a loss of electrical power.

Easy to Manipulate

Perovskite is easy to manipulate in relation to other materials. Researchers are hopeful for a simple and affordable path to the creation of solar cells due to properties making it easy to fabricate using liquids. Experiments with elemental composition suggest the possibility of perovskite being employed for different levels of efficiency. This makes it a great candidate for the creation of ultra-high efficiency, multijunction solar cells. Because of their high cost multijunction solar cells are used mostly in space, but a if perovskite proves as flexible as researchers predict (conversion efficiency has increased four-fold in only four years) such cells could be made more common for terrestrial use.

Increasing Efficiency While Lowering Costs

Researchers will most likely seek to test perovskite from two angles according to NREL Senior Scientist Joey Luther. The first will look to maximize efficiency, regardless of cost, in order to understand the full capabilities of the material. The second will focus entirely upon containing cost, employing spray-on techniques, for example. Luthor believes that this line of inquiry will allow low-cost commercial fields to emerge.

The private market seems to agree. A number of companies have already submitted bids to perform cooperative research with NREL to work on perovskite, making it a material to watch for anyone interested in green development.

Read the full article at Green Building Elements.

Original Article by Glenn Meyers