Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed

Date:
February 4, 2011
Source:
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
Summary:
Scientists have produced silicon photovoltaic cells with a conversion efficiency of 20.5%, the highest level achieved in Spain using this material.

Pablo Ortega and Gema López, members of the UPC team responsible for developing the high-efficiency photovoltaic cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

The Micro- and Nanotechnology Research Group of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has produced silicon photovoltaic cells with a conversion efficiency of 20.5%, the highest level achieved in Spain using this material. This figure is comparable to results obtained by leading research groups in the field at the international level.

The cells developed by the UPC researchers have surpassed the 15% barrier -- the average efficiency of the most common photovoltaic cells. Specifically, a conversion efficiency (of incident light to electric power) of 20.5% has been achieved, which means the energy produced per unit of area can be increased by one third.

For example, thanks to the high efficiency of this new cell type, only 4.8 m² of photovoltaic panels would be needed to meet one family's annual energy needs (an average of about 4 kWh per day). This compares to an area of 6.5 m² for traditional cells.

The cells are made of crystalline silicon and work in a simple way, much as conventional cells do. The light captured by the cells generates charges that are drawn off at the panel contacts and transformed into an electric current. "The goal is to generate a lot of charges that don't get lost -- that make it to the contacts," says Alcubilla, a member of the research group. Finally, after the light from the sun has been converted into electric current, it is fed into the power grid for domestic and industrial use.

The key to the success of the project was therefore to minimize losses, and by pursuing this approach the UPC researchers have managed to produce the most efficient silicon cells in Spain. "We've done a lot of work on the conception and development of new materials and structures, and on the technology needed to optimize the entire process and achieve high levels of efficiency," says Alcubilla. The next step is to develop procedures that facilitate large-scale production.

The result achieved in this research (which has involved 38 trials since 2002) is comparable to those obtained in other research projects carried out in countries that are taking the lead in the field of photovoltaic energy. The maximum efficiency obtained for cells of this type is 24.7%, a record set by an Australian group at the University of New South Wales.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm>.
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. (2011, February 4). High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. "High-efficiency photovoltaic cells developed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110204092155.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins