Big thing for sustainable energy

Generating solar power can be expensive and impractical for the average person, but a new process that spray-paints solar cells to almost any surface could be the next big thing in green energy.

University of Sheffield research scientists in the UK have developed a method that sprays a perovskite compound that can be used to generate solar energy, potentially turning a variety objects into power generators.

Typical solar cells can be quite energy-intensive to manufacture when made with materials such as silicon, whereas the generation of perovskites requires far less energy.

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The method involves spray-painting layers of the material onto a surface, meaning little material is wasted and the concept can be easily adapted to more affordable high-scale manufacturing.

By replacing the key light-absorbing layer found in organic solar cells with a spray-painted perovskite, energy efficiency is vastly increased.

“The best certified efficiencies from organic solar cells are around 10 percent,” explains lead researcher Professor David Lidzey.

“Perovskite cells now have efficiencies of up to 19 percent. This is not so far behind that of silicon at 25 percent — the material that dominates the worldwide solar market.”

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