Commercialized thin-film solar panels on the market consist of rare-earth elements like indium and gallium, or highly toxic metals like cadmium. Both of these thin-film solar panel types have their own problems, such as high-cost and problems in use in living places.
A team of scientists from DGIST, led by Dr Jin-Kyu Kang and Dr Dae-Hwan Kim, has been experimenting with solar panels made from cheaper and more abundant elements. Now, they have published the findings of their latest study in Advanced Energy Materials.
Dr Kang elaborates on the reasons based on which they chose their materials for the study: “Thin-film solar cells using bronze (Cu-Sn) and brass (Cu-Zn) as base materials are composed of non-toxic earth-abundant materials, and have been studied worldwide because of their low cost, high durability, and sustainability.”
However, using these alloys in thin film technology has its own drawbacks. While the theoretical efficiency of these panels matches the efficiencies of top market products, in practice, they tend to underperform drastically.
This is because of the formation of various defects in the materials, such as “point” defect, “surface” defect, and “volume” defect, during “annealing” (or the process of heating and cooling to make a CZTSSe film). These defects undermine the current flow, resulting in loss of electricity generated.
Therefore, the scientists wanted to find a way to synthesize the best quality CZTSSe (copper, zinc, tin, sulfur, and selenium) thin films. They played around with the annealing profile, which has a strong effect on the grain size of CZTSSe thin film: the longer the annealing time and higher annealing temperature, the larger the grains, and the lesser the electricity loss.
However, as the annealing temperature and time increase, there is a change in the properties of the CZTSSe thin film due to decomposition. To bypass this issue, the team used a special “liquid-assisted method,” which allowed the grains of CZTSSe to grow at a faster rate. This meant that the grains could grow large even at low temperatures, preventing the change in the properties of the CZTSSe thin film.
With this new observation, a significant hurdle has been overcome in the search for low-cost environment-friendly solar energy. Dr Kim concludes, “Our technology has diverse applications, including in electronic devices, household goods, buildings, and vehicles. The best part is that CZTS solar cells are free of the current drawbacks of toxic and rare metals. We can install everywhere we want!”
Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook – our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don’t have a paywall – with those annoying usernames and passwords.
Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.
If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
$5 Billed Once
credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly
JA Solar Supplies Solar Modules for an 110MW PV Project in Kansai, Japan
Beijing, China (SPX) Jun 24, 2020
JA Solar announced recently that it has won the order to supply Mono PERC MBB modules for the 110MW photovoltaic (PV) power plant in Kansai, Japan, which is the largest single PV project in the country so far. Scheduled to connect to the grid in March 2022, the plant will generate 150 million kWh of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 50,000 tons every year. Since it entered the Japanese market in 2011, JA Solar has gained a strong footprint in the local PV market with its superior … read more