Grant Awarded to Develop Graphene-Enhanced Photovoltaic Devices

2-D-Tech2-DTech has been awarded a grant worth £98,000 from InnovateUK to carry out research relating to graphene being integrated into solid state dye-sensitized solar cells. As a result, the company is linking up with solar technology specialist Dyesol in order to undertake this new, high profile project.

Currently the vast majority of photovoltaic cells are based on a crystalline silicon construction. These have high power conversion efficiency characteristics, but are costly to fabricate as they require use of the highest purity silicon. Thin film solar cells, in contrast, are relatively inexpensive to make and have numerous favorable deployment characteristics; however, this must unfortunately be counterbalanced by lower power conversion efficiency and shorter operational lifespans than crystalline silicon.

The objective of the project is to look into the possibility of carefully engineered incorporation of graphene nanoplatelets (GNPs) within the perovskite charge collecting regions of thin film solid-state dye-sensitised solar cells so that efficiency levels can be boosted. Through this, the widespread uptake of photovoltaic technology could be accelerated as solar cells which combine cost-effectiveness and high performance would then be brought to market. Increased conversion efficiencies will result in a smaller installed area per unit of generated electricity, reducing the material requirements as well as carbon footprint of the manufacturing process.

Monolayer graphene encapsulation of the entire cell also has the potential to prevent moisture ingress affecting the perovskite layer, increasing the durability of this component in addition to reducing the external toxicity of solar cells based on these materials. The project will take a period of 12 months to complete.

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