Swansea University researchers have developed the world’s first fully roll-to-roll (R2R) printable perovskite solar cell, a major breakthrough towards their large-scale production and commercialization.
The team at the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre discovered a low-cost and scalable carbon ink formulation, which replaces the expensive and slow gold electrode evaporation process typically used in solar cell manufacturing.
The key to their success was identifying a solvent mix that dries as a film without dissolving the underlying layer. This innovative layer can be applied continuously, compatibly, and at high speed, making high-volume manufacturing more feasible and economical.
The devices with carbon electrodes demonstrated similar photovoltaic performance to conventional evaporated gold electrodes, while outperforming them at higher temperatures and exhibiting better long-term stability.
“Perovskite solar cells show great promise in the drive towards cleaner, greener energy,” said Professor Trystan Watson, photovoltaic researcher at the university.
“The ability to produce a fully working device entirely in-line makes high-volume manufacturing easier and more economical and is a big step towards their commercialisation. It unlocks the idea of a manufacturing process where a solar ink is added to one end and a solar cell emerges from the other.”
Long and Flexible
The fully R2R coated device was printed onto a 20-meter-long flexible substrate, achieving a stabilized power conversion efficiency of 10.8%. This new generation of solar cells, developed by a collaborative team of chemists, materials scientists, and engineers, has brought the possibility of printing and installing millions of meters of solar cells around the world closer than ever.
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