MIT Research Could Dramatically Improve Solar Cell Efficiency
An artist’s rendering of the extraction of electrons from a solar cell during a photo incident. Researchers at MIT have proven that this occurrence can knock loose more than one electron -- achieving a singlet exciton fission process -- breaking the previous limit and paving the way to improve the efficiency of solar cells beyond the current 34 percent theoretical limit. (Source: MIT/Christine Daniloff)
Thanks for the the informative article Elizabeth. I think it is a huge discovery and a big advancement. And it can further lead to more research in this area, because the results from this experiment are very positive. But still the change in percentage from 25% to around 30% efficiency is not that huge to cause a big difference.
Electricity produced from solar energy is still not comparable to that produced from other resources like hydropower and batteries etc. For example, one cannot run high load house appliances like air conditioner, referigerator etc from solar cells. So still there is a long way to go. Nonetheless, a great acheivement for future research.
My guess is that the big difference between 25 and 30 percent will be the cost? Right now the threshold of pain for panel efficiency is about 15%. Yes, you can get a 25% panel, but the cost begins to rise sharply. Maybe the new material will allow for a cost-effective 30% panel.
Thanks for covering this, Elizabeth. Sounds like an important step forward for solar power. I'm not clear how the increase from 25 to 30 percent efficiency qualifies as "huge," but if efficiency could be pushed even further, beyond 30 percent as the article mentions, that's significant.
Agreed. Many titles here use hyperbole. Words like dramatically or "best...ever" can create high expectations. The researchers are very excited about it. As I always say, I'd like to see more analysis on the site.
This is moving in the right direction. Let's see where it goes.
Elizabeth, well this is something. I think the headline on the article overstates the potential. It looks like a 9% increase in electron production. This is good, but not the quite as amazing as I thought when I read the title.
Researchers working with additive manufacturing have said multimaterial techniques will allow industry “to fabricate materials with combinations of density, strength, and thermal expansion that do not exist [yet].”
The term "multiphysics" is used to describe the simulation of multiple types of physics and their influence on one another -- for example, the investigation of the behavior of a chemical in liquid form will involve both chemistry and fluid dynamics.
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