The future of photovoltaics thanks to a mineral

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The future of photovoltaics thanks to a mineral

The future of photovoltaics panels will be thanks to a mineral, the perovskite, better than the efficiency of current silicon systems, becoming the future of the energy got by sola rages. Perovskite production costs could be significantly lower due to the abundance of active materials and a simpler manufacturing method.

The chemical composition of perovskite allows to absorb light. This allows the charge to remain inside the sound-absorbing panel for a longer time and, therefore, a greater accumulation of energy. All of this can be used to capture the same amount of sunlight.

This is possible since cells in this material can be made by spreading the pigment on a glass or metal sheet. Perovskite is formed by e cubic-shaped opaque crystals found in the Ural Mountains. The material has a particular crystalline structure, consisting of a double oxide of Ca and Ti (CaTiO3), which can host a wide range of elements and therefore show various physical properties.

According to the researchers, even the costs of the panels could drop to 10-20 cents per watt. This would involve an exponential expansion of the diffusion of renewable energies with a consequent positive impact on the environment and on the quality of human life.

Researchers are using a synthetic version of the mineral, made from inexpensive materials that are abundant in the earth's crust, while other companies are still using the original mineral.

The future of photovoltaics thanks to a mineral

According to the Oxford PV researchers, in addition to improving solar efficiency, their synthetic compounds work better than silicon in shade, on cloudy days or even inside buildings: only a minimum of natural outdoor lighting would be sufficient Cells formed from perovskite can be printed using an inkjet printer and can be as thin as wallpaper.

Perovskite, according to the expert, could be sprayed or wrapped on flexible surfaces. Semi-transparent solar coatings could also be placed around entire buildings. However, perovskite still has major problems. Recent studies have found that a small amount of lead, a toxic element, is present in this material.

Therefore, more research is needed to understand how to permanently replace lead with a different, non-toxic element in cells.

In recent years there has been a steady decline in the cost of silicon, thanks to the new extraction and exploitation technologies that have made it much more easily available.

According to this trend, silicon panels, which now cost around 50 cents a watt, could drop to 25 cents a watt, and while the manufacturing process for the new cells is simple, it could take a decade to bring them to industrial production levels.