What is it about?

This project aimed to get more energy out of solar-powered cells. Solar cells have tended to use silicon to convert light to energy. It works well, but the processes it has to go through to be used in this way are expensive, and use a lot of energy. Scientists have been looking for alternative materials that would work as well, but that use less energy to make. In this study, scientists experimented with adding ‘perovskites’ to the silicon. They found that adding perovskites to silicon makes solar cells work better.

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Why is it important?

Perovskites are named after a natural mineral, but they are man-made. This is good as it means they will not run out – and we will not have to damage the environment to create them. They are relatively cheap to create, which helps to reduce the cost of producing green energy. There are lots of ways that the pairing of perovskites and silicon could be used. These scientists provide examples from materials science, manufacturing, sustainability, and business. They point out that it would not be too hard to change existing industrial processes to add perovskite to silicon, so this should be a quick way to begin increasing the efficiency of green energy. This is important as government targets for moving away from fossil fuels cannot be achieved through completely new energy technologies – we need to find ways to adapt and improve existing green energy production. KEY TAKEAWAY: Scientists have worked out how to make solar power work more effectively. This could help us move more quickly to a low-carbon future and meet net-zero targets.

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This page is a summary of: Perovskite/silicon tandem photovoltaics: Technological disruption without business disruption, Applied Physics Letters, August 2021, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0054086.
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