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The Most Environmentally Friendly Plastic Solar Cells

Author: Source: Datetime: 2016-10-15 12:46:07
plastic solar cellsA team of researchers from North Carolina State University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed a high-efficiency solar cell made from semi-printed plastic. This manufacturing method does not require the use of environmentally harmful halogen solvents, but the use of a non-toxic harmless to human common food seasoning - o-methyl anisole (o-MA).

Long Ye, a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Physics at North Carolina State University, said plastic solar cells, or solar powered portable generator cells, have more advantages than silicon-based solar cells, which are more often fabricated and used today. Details of the study have been published in Chemistry Materials.

"These plastic solar cells can be made more environmentally friendly, more colorful, more flexible, and less costly," he said. "They are also extremely compatible with industrial-scale manufacturing." Part of the reason is that they Can be in an open environment at room temperature for manufacturing,

For a long time, the use of halogen-containing solvents in the manufacturing process of solar cells has been one of the obstacles to large-scale commercialization. However, the use of these solvents in the manufacturing process to ensure the shape or structure of solar cells, as far as possible to achieve the highest energy efficiency. In addition, the use of such hazardous chemicals also need to be controlled in a controlled environment, costly production costs.

Researchers began developing solar cells also used a toxic solvent, and later decided to use O-MA to make the production process more secure and more environmentally friendly.

"We had to protect our health and the environment, so we came up with the idea of using food additives as a solvent," Ye said.

The team used soft X-ray techniques to study the morphology of solar cells and found that o-MA solar cells also exhibited morphologies, crystal properties, and component performance similar to those produced by halogen-based solvents. And this o-MA is very easy to obtain, not only non-toxic, but with ordinary plastic solar cell material "superior" solubility.

Another advantage of using o-MA is that it allows researchers to produce solar cells with a knife coating or at room temperature. Blade coating is a process of applying a thin layer of a solar cell film to a rigid or flexible substrate using a glass scraper and is also compatible with large-scale commercial manufacturing.

In the test, the performance of the battery can achieve about 8.4% of the performance, slightly lower than the commonly used portable solar power generator cells. Ye said the researchers plan to use more efficient materials for continuous development, so that in large-scale production to achieve more than 10% conversion efficiency goals.

"From our recent test results, we are confident that similar equipment can be optimized to achieve similar performance of photovoltaic materials."
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