Curtains for fossil fuel soon, Enter Perovskites
Perovskite is what a particular mineral crystal structure is known as in scientific lingo. Mostly this is a calcium titanium trioxide mineral.
The history of Perovskite being used for solar applications starts in 2009 but couldn’t get popular because of the low efficiencies, a perennial problem that plagues the solar industry.
The only significant environmental impact of such solar cells is the usage of lead but this problem might just have got solved because researchers from Northwestern University have developed perovskite solar cells that use tin instead of lead.
“This is a breakthrough in taking the lead out of a very promising type of solar cell, called a perovskite,” said Mercouri G. Kanatzidis, a researcher involved with the project. “Tin is a very viable material, and we have shown the material does work as an efficient solar cell.”
Lead perovskite solar cells had 15 percent efficiency and the next challenge for this tin perovskite is to break this record. At present, efficiency of 5.73% has been reported.
The study published in Nature Photonics provides more– “Bandgap engineering was implemented by chemical substitution in the form of CH3NH3SnI3–xBrx solid solutions, which can be controllably tuned to cover much of the visible spectrum, thus enabling the realization of lead-free solar cells with an initial power conversion efficiency of 5.73% under simulated full sunlight. Further efficiency enhancements are expected following optimization and a better fundamental understanding of the internal electron dynamics and corresponding interfacial engineering. The reported CH3NH3SnI3–xBrx perovskite solar cells represent a step towards the realization of low-cost, environmentally friendly solid-state solar cells.”