Renewable energy is very much welcomed, in order to bring self sufficiency to the means of producing electricity. We have popular sources that include solar, but it has some shortcomings. They require investment not just in the technology, but also in land to develop solar farms that produce electricity for consumption. The other issue is that they lack the energy density to produce electricity to meet high demands from industry.
The materials used in building solar cells are also another issue. They cannot provide maximum efficiency to produce power. These issues can be addressed, through breakthrough technologies that increase the efficiency of the materials. One solution is to use a hybrid organic-inorganic material called perovskites.
Perovskite Solar Cells
There are 2 types of solar cells. These cells collect photons from sunlight causing electro-chemical reactions that produce electricity. We have the crystalline silicon-based wafer cells that many solar panels use. The other type are thin film cells, which can use perovskites. The thin film cells are made of layers of photovoltaic materials that are embedded on a substrate made of glass, metal or plastic. These substrates tend to be more flexible and versatile materials.
Thin film solar cells are more flexible and versatile (Source PowerFilm)
Perovskite is made from material like methylammonium lead halides and all-inorganic cesium lead halide. The advantage they have is that they are cheaper to produce and simpler to manufacture, compared to silicon-based solar cells. These cells also increase the conversion of sunlight to power by up to 25% (in 2021). They are more efficient at producing electricity rather than wasted energy in the form of heat.
A perovskite material has an ABX3 configuration. This consists of of two positively charged ions (A and B) called cations and a negatively charged ion (X) or anion. In general, materials that have the same crystal structure of CaTiO3 are referred to as perovskite materials.
Crystal structure of CH3NH3PbX3 perovskites (X=I, Br and/or Cl).(Source: Nature, Christopher Eames et al.)
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