Saturday, July 4, 2009
Most efficient single junction solar cell-QuantaSol
sets world record
LONDON, UK-- Quantasol
Ltd has developed in just two years a single-junction
cell achieving 28.3% efficiency at greater than 500 suns-setting
the world record for the most
efficient single junction solar cell.
Photo:Quantasol has come up with
a new solar cell design that can be tuned to the light at
a particular latitude, and in the process broken a 21-year-old
efficiency record for one type of solar cell.
Its cell had been independently assessed
by solar research body Fraunhofer ISE and was found to deliver
a 28.3 per cent efficiency at a solar concentration of greater
than 500 suns.
A new generation of 'nano-structured'
millimetre-sized solar cells that could convert the sun's
energy to electricity more than twice as efficiently as current
technology,can be tuned to the prevailing light conditions
of a particular place, to get the most out of the cells wherever
new scientific invention is the subject of an Imperial College
London exhibit called 'A Quantum of Sol' at the Royal Society
Summer Science Exhibition 2009.
“Our technology is the industry’s best
kept secret. This is the first time that anyone has successfully
combined high efficiency with ease of manufacture, historically
a bug-bear of the solar cell industry,” said Kevin Arthur,
CEO. “We’re now gearing up to provide multi-junction cells
of even higher efficiencies as early as Q1 2010.”
The 'Quantum of Sol' exhibit explains
the technology behind so-called 'third generation' solar cells.
These are designed on the nano-scale, which means the materials
they are made of are custom-built on a scale 1000 times smaller
than the size of a human hair.
These third generation solar cells can
capture more of the sun's energy than existing silicon solar
panels because they contain different layers of material that
absorb a broader spectrum of colours. Individually targeting
different colours of sunlight in this way captures more of
the sun's energy, creating much more efficient solar cells.
Silicon solar panels, which have been around
since the 1950s and are relatively cheap to produce, lose
a lot of the sun's energy, and tend to operate with just 12
- 20% efficiency.
The new generation of so-called 'multi- junction'
solar cells has the potential to perform much better, with
the current world record for efficiency standing at 41%, and
Dr Ekins-Daukes predicting that 50% efficiency will be achieved
within a decade.
Commercial silicon solar cells are much
cheaper than GaAs, but have an efficiency of just 10 to 12
per cent and are also bulkier. The Quantasol device can cope
with much brighter light without becoming overloaded, making
it possible to use a very small solar cell to absorb light
collected by a system of cheap lenses and mirrors.
But more important than the peak efficiency
is that the new cells can generate more electrical energy
over the course of days and weeks, says Kevin Arthur, Quantasol
"The commercial market doesn't just want high
efficiency, they want the device to be optimised to the environment,"
he says. "In the past we measured performance in dollars per
watt. Now it's cents per kilowatt-hour that's more important."
Related world records:
efficient solar-to-grid convertor-world record set by SES
advanced home flight simulator-world record set by Matthew
advanced bicycle-world record set by Factor 001
working cell phone-world record set by Cricket
Zoetrope-world record set by the BRAVIA-drome from Sony
Helicopter-world record set by GEN H-4
mobile phone-world record set by Modu mini phone
PC-world record set by Fi7EPOWER MLK1610
processor-world record set by Intel Core i7
satelitte messenger-world record set by SPOT
Lite-Brite Picture-world record set by ASICS
durable phone-world record set by the Sonim XP1
printed digital image-world record set by Base3
unmanned flight-Zephyr sets world record
humanoid robot-world record set by the BeRobot
Saturday, July 4, 2009