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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Crystalline Material Could Replace Silicon to double efficiency of solar cells/ Today's show

We hope you in today at 1p as interviewed Purdue University Assistant Professor of Physical Chemistry, and lead team member on this project, Libai Huang.  In a great one-hour conversation, we explored the world of solar today and her vision of it tomorrow.

More importantly, we looked at its impact on our world as consumers and users of renewables.  Will it get cheaper, lighter, more efficient?  Will it work well with improvements in energy storage?  Added to EV's as an example, will solar materially change the marketplace?

If you missed it today, below is the story we ran a few weeks ago on our main network site--Renewable Now Network. com--and we will soon add excerpts from her show on the same channel under sustainable science:  

A new material has been shown to have the capability to double the efficiency of solar cells by researchers at Purdue University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Conventional solar cells are at most one-third efficient, a limit known to scientists as the Shockley-Queisser Limit. The new material, a crystalline structure that contains both inorganic materials (iodine and lead) and an organic material (methyl-ammonium), boosts the efficiency so that it can carry two-thirds of the energy from light without losing as much energy to heat. In less technical terms, this material could double the amount of electricity produced without a significant cost increase. Enough solar energy reaches the earth to supply all of the planet’s energy needs multiple times over, but capturing that energy has been difficult – as of 2013, only about 1 percent of the world’s grid electricity was produced from solar panels. 

Libai Huang, assistant professor of chemistry at Purdue, says the new material, called a hybrid perovskites, would create solar cells thinner than conventional silicon solar cells, and is also flexible, cheap and easy to make. “My graduate students learn how to make it in a few days,” she says. The breakthrough is published this week in the journal Science. The most common solar cells use silicon as a semiconductor, which can transmit only one-third of the energy because of the band gap, which is the amount of energy needed to boost an electron from a bound state to a conducting state, in which the electrons are able to move, creating electricity.....

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