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21 June 2016

PeroBOOST project to research efficient, stable lead-free perovskite solar cells

Deposition equipment maker Aixtron SE of Herzogenrath, near Aachen, Germany says that it is pushing ahead with research on perovskite solar cells within the three-year project PeroBOOST (running from March 2016 to February 2019).

Aixtron will be collaborating with PeroBOOST consortium partners including the University of Cologne, solar system developer Enerthing GmbH, Herzogenrath-based laser machine system maker Lunovu GmbH, Cologne-based electrospray coating system maker Soluxx GmbH, the Center for Organic Electronics Cologne (ZOEK) GmbH, the Fraunhofer ISE Laboratory and Service Center (LSC) Gelsenkirchen, and Duisburg-Essen University (UDE). ZOEK will draw on the infrastructure available at the COPT.CENTRE for Organic Electronics at the University of Cologne (where ZOEK is the anchor tenant).

The basis for the project is the recent discovery of the properties of organo-perovskite materials for efficient solar cells. Aixtron says that this long-known of class of materials offers surprisingly great potential in terms of its energy conversion efficiency. The latest research results already report efficiency levels of more than 20%. The new type of solar cells is thus expected to achieve a similarly high level of energy efficiency as solar cells made of silicon. In addition to being expected to involve lower costs, the technology also opens up a variety of novel future applications due to its manufacturability on flexible substrates, notes Aixtron. Another attractive option involves using the technology in combination with silicon photovoltaics to further enhance efficiency.

Based on thin-film technology, the perovskite solar cell has many features in common with organic photovoltaics in terms of the materials used. The disadvantage of perovskite solar cells to date, however, has been that the highest efficiencies have only been achieved with lead-based materials. The development of perovskite solar cells that are stable on a long-term basis is also only in its infancy. Lead-free systems currently show lower levels of efficiency and long-term stability. The PeroBOOST project will therefore be focusing on two aspects and aiming to develop these further:

  • efficient and stable lead-free perovskite solar cells;
  • scaling up methods and techniques.

The project will hence investigate and develop two industrial production processes: vacuum coating and wet-chemical roll-to-roll coating.

The project also aims to investigate the stability of the solar cells and to develop processes and materials to enhance stability. For initial applications, a lifetime of 3-5 years is targeted.

PeroBOOST is being supported with funds from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) 2014-2020. LSC Gelsenkirchen will be responsible for developing new transparent conductors based on silver and copper nanowires. PeroBOOST is being supported by two institutes at UDE: the Institute of Materials Science and the Institute of Nanostructure Technology. The Institute for Materials Science develops and investigates functional materials for use in construction and electrical technology. Perovskites have been a key research field for more than 20 years now, although the types suitable for solar cell materials have only been investigated more recently. The focus here is on materials synthesis. The Institute for Nanostructure Technology develop tools and prototypes for use in electrical technology (with major topics being thermoelectric materials and solar cells). Existing research on organic solar cells is now being supplemented to include organic-inorganic systems. The institute's strengths also include device technology and optoelectronic and electrical characterization.

Tags: Aixtron Thin-film PV

Visit: www.aixtron.com

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