Solar energy in the Philippines is now growing in support as more and more people recognize the importance of switching to renewable energies as an alternative to electricity grid powered systems. As advancements in technology continually progress, new materials are being discovered to be more efficient and especially non-toxic in terms of manufacturing and use.
A New Generation Of Solar Cells
Science Daily reports a new breakthrough in advancing technologies. A new discovery from a team at the University of New South Wales, Australia, have achieved the world’s most efficient and flexible solar cells that are both non-toxic and highly affordable to manufacture. Today’s solar cells are rated to be 20% efficient. This breakthrough in advancement in technology The UNSW team have achieved the world’s highest efficiency rating for a full-sized thin-film solar cell using a different kind of thin-film technology known as CZTS. The team, lead by Dr. Xiaojing Hao of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at the UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, received confirmation for the achievement through the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of the United States. The NREL confirmed that the CZTS cells are 7.6% more efficient versus its thin film rivals CdTe and CIGS. CZTS cells present a breakthrough in solar cell technology to be the first in the world to achieve more than 20% efficiency rating.
CZTS cells are named as such pertaining to the materials used in its manufacturing: copper, zinc, tin, and sulphur. These materials are more easily accessible than previously used materials for photovoltaic cells. CdTe cells are made of cadmium-telluride while CIGS cells are made of copper, indium, gallium, and selenide. Both cadmium and selenium are highly toxic materials even in small doses, while both tellurium and indium are very rare. This means that CZTS cells are highly cost efficient and much more safer to manufacture. In time, affordable and safe CZTS cells will replace the toxicity and rarity of the materials used in current photovoltaic cell manufacturing.
Advancing Renewable Energy
Science Daily reports yet another breakthrough in solar technology from the Australian National University in partnership with the University of California Berkeley wherein physicists have discovered new properties in a nanomaterial to increase thermophotovoltaic cell efficiency. The project is lead by Dr. Sergey Kruk from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering in association with scientists from the University of California Berkeley that posses unique expertise to manufacture the metamaterial. The glow-in-the-dark thermophotovoltaic cells are able to harvest heat and turn them into electricity through infrared radiation.
The artificial nanomaterial termed metamaterial are made of nanoscopic structures of gold and magnesium flouride that can be restructured to radiate in a specific spectral range as opposed to standard materials that radiate heat in a general, broad range of infrared wavelengths. The metamaterial’s incredible behaviour is attributed to its unique magnetic dispersion which takes a hyperbolic form, as opposed to natural materials like glass or crystals that take a simple, spherical or ellipsodial form. The metamaterial is made to be paired with thermophotovoltaic cells that acts as a receiver to the metamaterial’s emitter.
Today’s scientists and their incredible discoveries allow the global community a chance to help the environment by creating new technologies that allow us to utilize our natural renewable energies. Solar panels in the Philippines is just one step for the Filipino people to increase awareness in the growing concern to save the planet. As a Filipino, let’s do our part in helping the environment and propagating the betterment of our individual lives through the use of natural, renewable energies in our daily activities.