New greener, cheaper solar cells

The Institue of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) have recently developed a new type of solar cell on AgBiS2 nanocrystals to enhance current solar materials.

Common solar cells are typically made from silicon that features toxic elements such as cadmium and can be energy intensive in production.

In contrast, the semi-transparent AgBiS2 cells use non-toxic, earth-abundant elements, produced in ambient conditions. This combination should make them both greener and safer than current technologies.

The semi-transparent AgBiS2 cells use earth-abundant elements which produced in ambient conditions. Making them safer and greener and overall non-toxic compared to current technologies.

The AgBiS2 solar cell can be made in air at low temperatures, using low-cost processing techniques. Meaning the AgBiS2 solar cell is a has significant potential as a low-cost alternative to traditional solar cells.

To create the AgBiS2 solar cell, The Institue of Photonic Sciences used a low-temperature hot-injection synthetic procedure. The first stage involved dispersing the nanocrystals into organic solvents, which can remain stable for months with no performance loss to the end product.

The chemical synthesis of the nanocrystals allows exquisite control of their properties through engineering at the nanoscale and enables their dissolution in colloidal solutions.

According to research the cells have achieved an efficiency of 6.3 percent, similar to a high-performance cell. The ICFO team is currently working towards achieving 12 percent and improving processing costs would make the technology commercially viable.


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