Stacked polymer cells set solar energy record

Barry Copping

Published: February 14, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability Materials Design
Companies & Associations

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 14, 2:30 p.m. ET) — Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) say they have significantly boosted the performance of polymer solar cells by building a new “tandem” device, stacking multiple cells which absorb different bands of the solar spectrum and convert them into electricity.

Independent verification comes from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which has certified with a power conversion efficiency of 10.6 percent – a new record.

Tandem solar cells are an effective way to harvest a broader spectrum of solar radiation. However, conversion efficiency only increases when combining two cells if their materials are mutually compatible – hitherto making the performance of tandem devices lag behind that of single-layer solar cells.

The UCLA team’s breakthrough is a range of highly efficient single-layer and tandem polymer solar cells featuring a “low band gap conjugated” polymer designed specifically for the tandem structure. The band gap determines which part of the solar spectrum a polymer absorbs.

Professor Yang Yang of UCLA likens the configuration to a double-decker bus. He says: “The bus can carry a certain number of passengers on one deck, but if you were to add a second deck, you could hold many more people for the same amount of space. That’s what we’ve done here with the tandem polymer solar cell.”

He continues: “Everything is done by a very low-cost wet-coating process. As this is compatible with current manufacturing [techniques], I anticipate this technology will become commercially viable in the near future.”

The work is published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Photonics.


Comments

Stacked polymer cells set solar energy record

Barry Copping

Published: February 14, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

PolyOne launches Geon BIO PVC using soy-based materials

April 24, 2015 11:48 am ET

More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp.    More

Image

California may require more recycled content in bottles

April 24, 2015 11:16 am ET

California lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that would bump up the required recycled content in plastic bottles for beverage companies to...    More

Image

KHS cuts packaging with direct printing on PET bottles, adhesive multi-packs

April 23, 2015 1:39 pm ET

KHS GmbH has been pouring a lot of time into solving issues related to direct printing on PET bottles, and after eight years of work, everyone...    More

Image

DuPont center in India gets LEED Certification

April 23, 2015 1:07 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s Knowledge Center in Hyderabad, India, was awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.    More

Image

MeadWestvaco joins the Recycling Partnership

April 23, 2015 11:19 am ET

MeadWestvaco Corp., a global packaging company with some operations in plastics, is joining the Recycling Partnership.    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events