Researchers at Swansea University have developed the world’s first fully roll-to-roll (R2R) printable perovskite solar cell, a breakthrough towards its large-scale production and commercialization.
The SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Center team discovered a low-cost, scalable carbon ink formulation that replaces the expensive and time-consuming gold electrode evaporation process typically used in solar cell manufacturing.
The key to their success was identifying a solvent blend that dries to a film without dissolving the underlying layer. This innovative coating can be applied continuously, compatible, and at high speed, making high-volume manufacturing more feasible and economical.
Devices with carbon electrodes demonstrated similar photovoltaic performance to conventional evaporated gold electrodes, although they outperformed them at higher temperatures and exhibited better long-term stability.
“Perovskite solar cells hold great promise on the path to cleaner, greener energy,” said Professor Trystan Watson, a photovoltaics researcher at the university.
“The ability to produce a fully functioning device online makes high-volume manufacturing easier and cheaper and is a big step toward commercialization. It unlocks the idea of a manufacturing process where a solar ink is added to one end and a solar cell emerges from the other.”
Long and Flexible
The fully R2R-coated device was printed on a 20 meter long flexible substrate, achieving a stabilized power conversion efficiency of 10.8%. This new generation of solar cells, developed by a collaborative team of chemists, materials scientists and engineers, has brought the possibility of printing and installing millions of meters of solar cells around the world closer than ever.
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