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Scaling solar: From lab to panels

Scientists in the Sustainable Advanced Materials research group at Swansea University are looking at methods of scaling up emerging photovoltaic technologies.

The research, published in Advanced Electronic Materials and supported by the Welsh Government through the European Regional Development Fund, will enable the use of organic photovoltaic (OPV) materials at large scales.

OPVs are being developed as a source of renewable energy- the materials to produce them are plentiful and require less energy to produce than their alternatives.

Photovoltaics produce around 4% of the electricity used in the UK - large-area OPV panels may add to this capacity and enable the use of PV in novel ways, for example, integration into buildings.

Transparent conductive electrodes are critical components of OPVs – by adding metallic grids to these electrodes, the Swansea team has shown that it is possible to produce high-performance electrodes without the need for rare elements, allowing them to be low cost and produced at a large scale in the future.

Lead author Gregory Burwell, a postdoctoral research scientist at Swansea University said: “High-performance transparent conductive electrodes will be a key component in unlocking the potential of new sustainable photovoltaic materials. These have the potential to deliver clean and sustainable energy with materials that are cheap and abundant”.

Nicholas Burridge, master student and co- author said: “In the pursuit of sustainable, high-performance photovoltaics, transparent conductive electrodes are one of the most important items that need improving. Metallic grids like these improve electrodes by being material agnostic, allowing the production of low-cost, high-performance electrodes with cheap materials. This may pave the way for greater use of photovoltaics”.

To read the publication in full, click HERE

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