Keywords: energy (312) solar energy (246) cooperations (139)

News    01.11.2017

Approved! The EU INFINITE-CELL project

A large EU-sponsored research project on tandem solar cells in which HZB is participating begins in November 2017. The goal is to combine thin-film semiconductors made of silicon and kesterites into especially cost-effective tandem cells having efficiencies of over 20 per cent. Several large research institutions from Europe, Morocco, the Republic of South Africa, and Belarus will be working on the project, as well as two partners from industry.

“We not only have detailed experience with kesterite thin films, but also a wide spectrum of analytical methods at our disposal to characterise absorber materials very thoroughly”, explains Prof. Susan Schorr. The FUNDACIO INSTITUT DE RECERCA DE L’ENERGIA DE CATALUNYA (IREC), Spain – a long-term collaborating partner of the HZB, is coordinating the entire project. The project begins with a kick-off workshop in Brussels in November 2017.

Ambitious Goals

Goals of the project are quite concrete: the kesterite solar cells should reach an efficiency level of more than 14 per cent (currently they are just below 12%), while thin-film silicon cells made from recycled material should reach an efficiency level of over 16 per cent. Reaching more than 20 % is feasible because silicon uses a different energy region of light to generate electricity than kesterite does. When you combine both materials into one tandem solar cell, where you stack them upon one another or even grow one on the other, it enables a considerably larger proportion of solar energy to be converted into electrical energy. These kinds of especially efficient and also cost-effective solar modules might be employed in cladding, and on roof surfaces – for both buildings and vehicles – to generate power locally.

Why Kesterites?

“Kesterites are a very interesting class of materials”, emphasises Schorr. For even though other absorber materials like copper-indium-gallium-sulphides (CIGS) or metal-organic perovskite semiconductors are able to attain considerably higher efficiency levels today, kesterites trump them with two big advantages: kesterites consist of very abundant elements, and they are non-toxic.

Exchange between partner institutions

The project INFINITECELL, which is a  Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE) type funding, has a duration of four years. It is part of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Programme funded by the EU within Horizon 2020. This enables scientists over the coming years to travel to partner institutions in order to exchange experience, skills, and insights. The joint research is set out in a detailed Secondment Plan.




You might also be interested in
  • <p>The idea: during summer, a module with photovoltaic and catalytic materials is splitting molten ice into hydrogen (H<sub>2</sub>) and oxygen. The H<sub>2</sub> is stored.</p>NEWS      22.05.2019

    Energy for Antarctica: solar hydrogen as an alternative to crude oil?

    Volkswagen Foundation funds feasibility study by HZB experts in artificial photosynthesis

    The sun shines at the South Pole as well – and in summer almost around the clock. Instead of supplying research stations in the Antarctic with crude oil for producing the electricity and heating they need, solar hydrogen could be produced from sunlight in summer as an alternative. Hydrogen has a high energy density, is easy to store, and can be used as fuel when needed later without polluting the environment. An intriguingly simple idea - but one that raises many questions. Matthias May (HZB) and Kira Rehfeld (Heidelberg University) now want to examine how feasible this kind of solar fuel generation might be in Antarctica. The project is receiving financial support from the Volkswagen Foundation. [...]

  • <p>Bassi presented results on new phases in the quaternary Fe-Ti-W-O system for application as photoelectrocatalyst in light-assisted water splitting.</p>NEWS      20.05.2019

    Posterprize for HZB postdoc Prince Saurabh Bassi

    Dr. Prince Saurabh Bassi was awarded the poster prize at “International Bunsen-Discussion-Meeting on Fundamentals and Applications of (Photo) Electrolysis for Efficient Energy Storage”. He is a postdoctoral fellow working with Prof. Sebastian Fiechter in the Institute for Solar Fuels. [...]

  • <p>HZB-Teams are exploring and developing new technologies for perovskite based solar cells in the innovation lab HySPRINT.</p>NEWS      16.05.2019

    LAUNCH OF EPKI: European Perovskite Initiative for the development of Perovskite based solar technology

    Perovskite based solar cells have made tremendous progress over the last decade achieving lab-scale efficiencies of 24.2% early 2019 in single-junction architecture and up to 28% in tandem (perovskite associated with crystalline silicon), turning it into the fastest-advancing solar technology to date. With the HySPRINT project and the recruitment of highly talented young scientists, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin has built up a considerable research capacity in the field of perovskite materials in recent years and is participating in the European Perovskite Initiative EPKI that has now been launched. [...]