New technologies of renewable energy sources

Due to ever-increasing energy needs of recent years, the interest in renewable energy sources has been on the rise.
Photovoltaic cells (PV) can be considered one of the most popular renewable energy sources as long as they provide direct conversion of solar energy into electricity with zero emissions. Additionally, PVs have a long life, noiseless function and minimal need of maintenance.
As photovoltaic cells’ principles of operation is based on the properties of semi-conductors, their efficiency varies depending on the type of semiconductor chosen for their manufacture.
However, the increased cost and the low rate of improvement in the current efficiency (n ≈25,6% ) of crystalline silicon (c-Si) disks – which is the most common PV technology- , have led to the development of thin film materials.

c – Si Photovoltaic disk

Such innovative materials are Gallium Arsenide ( n ≈ 28.8% ),  Perovskite (n > 20%) and Cadmium Telluride (n ≈21%).

Thin film technology

 Cadmium Telluride is a bestseller because of its high efficiency together with its low cost

Perovskite photovoltaic cell

Another special technology of thin films worth mentioning is Dye-Sensitized thin films ( n≈11.9%). The peculiarity of this construction arises from the fact that the procces is carried out through a colour substance which is placed on top of the structure producing electro-chemical energy. Despite the low efficiency of Dye-sensitized films (so far), their manufacture is quite simple and the necessary materials are easily available and at a low cost.

Dye-sensitized thin film technology

It seems that thin films technology is going to be an issue of great scientific interest. Could they may solve planet’s energy issues in the upcoming years?

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