Navigation Links
Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
Date:8/2/2012

Sometimes it's just a couple of cents that decide the success or failure of a technology. As long as solar power, for instance, is still more expensive than energy extracted from fossil fuels, photovoltaics will not be competitive on the broad open market. "Power generation from solar energy continues to be reliant on public subsidies this is no different in the USA than in Germany," explains Christian Hoepfner, Scientific Director of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems CSE in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. "If we want renewable energy to penetrate the global market over the long term, then we must ensure it gets cheaper."

There are no silver bullets to reach this target: Efficiency cannot be arbitrarily increased, and it is expensive to produce solar cells and modules. If you want to change something here, you have to solve a puzzle with many variables: Engineering teams around the world are searching for new technologies and production methods to make cells and modules cheaper, more efficient, more durable and reliable.

Silicone steady and resilient

Silicone is one of the promising materials. It is a highly unusual substance neither inorganic crystal nor organic polymer but related to both. While PV modules have been encapsulated with silicones, until now, however, they were not widely used for laminating solar modules. Lamination is a protective coating that surrounds the fragile silicon wafer. Today most manufacturers of photovoltaic cells use ethylene-vinyl acetate, or EVA for short.

In order to determine if silicone could replace the ethylene-vinyl acetate a team of experts worked together: researchers from Fraunhofer and from Dow Corning Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of silicones used in medical technology, cosmetics, the automotive industry, paper processing and electronics. The scientists coated photovoltaic cells with liquid silicone. "When the silicone hardens, it encases the cells; the electronic components thus have optimal protection," says project Manager Rafal Mickiewicz. The experts at CSE constructed prototypes from the silicone-laminated cells, and tested these photovoltaic modules in a climate chamber at low temperatures and under cyclic loads. Afterwards the module performance was tested with a light flasher. In addition the researchers used electro-luminescence-imaging for the detection of micro cracks. A comparison of the results with those of conventional solar modules proved that silicone-encased photovoltaic modules are more resistant to cyclic loading of the type modules experience in strong winds, in particular at a frosty minus 40 degrees Celsius.

"Dow Corning Corporation collaborated with researchers at the Fraunhofer CSE Photovoltaic Modules Group for two years. This collaboration significantly improved our understanding of the materials requirements of our solar modules, particularly in regard to sustainability and output," concludes Andy Goodwin, Global Science & Technology Manager, Dow Corning Solar Solutions.

In the meantime, the tests have been published at the 26th European Photovoltaics Solar Energy Conference in 2011. "The study results demonstrate that silicone lamination is well-suited for certain applications, because the silicone protects the fragile components on the inside well, and moreover, withstands severe temperature fluctuations. With this technology we can, for instance, make modules with thin Si cells more robust," concludes Mickiewicz.


'/>"/>
Contact: Christian Hoepfner
choepfner@fraunhofer.org
617-575-7250
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Canadian girl, 16, invents disease-fighting, anti-aging compound using tree particles
2. Italy pledges to be part of ELIXIR research infrastructure
3. Weizmann Institute solar technology to convert greenhouse gas into fuel
4. Bay Area PV Consortium announces $7.5 million in grants to lower the cost of large-scale solar
5. Climatic effects of a solar minimum
6. Folding light: Wrinkles and twists boost power from solar panels
7. A new dimension for solar energy
8. Embryonic blood vessels that make blood stem cells can also make beating heart muscles
9. Long-distance distress signal from periphery of injured nerve cells begins with locally made protein
10. Cell receptor has proclivity for T helper 9 cells, airway inflammation
11. Key function of protein discovered for obtaining blood stem cells as source for transplants
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
(Date:4/15/2016)... , April 15, 2016  A new partnership ... more accurate underwriting decisions in a fraction of ... competitively priced and high-value life insurance policies to ... With Force Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, ... data readings (blood pressure, weight, pulse, BMI, and ...
(Date:4/14/2016)... 2016 BioCatch ™, the ... announced the appointment of Eyal Goldwerger as ... Goldwerger,s leadership appointment comes at a time of ... deployment of its platform at several of the world,s ... discerns unique cognitive and physiological factors, is a winner ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... 31, 2016   ... the "Company") LegacyXChange is excited to release ... soon to be launched online site for trading 100% ... ) will also provide potential shareholders a sense of ... to an industry that is notorious for fraud. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed ... pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving ... signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 A person commits a ... crime scene to track the criminal down. An ... Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track ... Sound far-fetched? It,s not. The FDA has increasingly ... support investigations of foodborne illnesses. Put as simply as possible, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, ... financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will ... its drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional ... has been an incredible strategic partner to us – ... would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to ... medical community, has closed its Series A funding round, ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis ... need to meet our current goals," stated Matthew ... runway to complete validation on the current projects in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: