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China Says Researchers Find Lower-Cost Way To Make Solar Cells

Chinese researchers have developed a new technique that could boost the efficiency and reduce the costs of making solar cells, China’s Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.

The study of scientists from the Lanzhou University, the Ningbo Institute of Material Technology and Engineering, and the Functional Thin Films Research Center at the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology, was published in the December 2018 issue of the journal Nano Energy.

The Chinese researchers say that they have developed a newly emerging technique that could meet the long-time dream of photovoltaic researchers to have high-performance silicon solar cells with low-temperature and solution-based processes only.

The new technique used by the Chinese scientists includes high performance hole- and electron-selective layers (HSL and ESL) for both polarities on silicon substrate. The contact resistivity was dramatically decreased, while a remarkable efficiency of 15.1 percent was achieved, according to the scientists.

The new technique to make solar cells could allow solar cells to avoid high-temperature processes, thus making those solar cells lower-cost and more efficient, Peng Shanglong, the head of a research team at Lanzhou University, told Xinhua.

“Because of high equipment costs and complex techniques, traditional solar cells have long been limited in use on a large scale,” Peng told the Chinese news agency.

The Chinese researchers are not the only ones working to boost the efficiency and cut the costs of solar cells or working with other types of materials.

Researchers from Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) said earlier this month that they had experimented with increasing the efficiency of silicon solar cells by incorporating layers of organic molecules into the solar cell. This could potentially abolish the 29.3 percent theoretical efficiency limit for silicon solar cells due to their physical material properties, they say.

Researchers at Penn State have been searching for less expensive alternatives to solar cells and found that the properties of an inexpensive and quick-to-produce class of materials known as halide perovskites could lead to more efficient PV materials to replace traditional silicon solar cells.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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