Continuously hearing about all the incredible properties of what is considered to be the greatest material on earth (sort of..), only makes us more agitated and impatient in waiting for the life-altering new product made of graphene.
Although graphene could be used in numerous technologies and various applications, and there is no doubt it could change the world for the better, scientists are not quite there yet. Of course, this was the case until a few days ago. Now, a team of scientists from Oxford University, UK and Universitat Jaume I in Castelló, Spain, who released their findings earlier this week, claim to have found a way to boost incredibly solar cell efficiency by adding graphene to the equation, and removing silicon.
The new solar cell, although still in its experimental stage, comprises of a charge collector made of titanium oxide and graphene, and perovskite to absorb light. The main difference here is that the silicon wafers previously covered with graphene are no longer present, which not only boosts the efficiency of the cell, but also reduces the required temperature at which the structure bonds. Speaking in numbers, the efficiency of the new solar cell reached 15.6 %, compared to the latest record of 8.6%, while the temperature now should only be around 150 degrees C.
So what is gained? Well, to start with, the new technology is perfectly suitable for mass production, as the cost is pretty much the same as traditional solar cells, but the outcome is much better. In addition, the new solar cell can be used in flexible plastics, simply because the fabrication process requires much lower temperature.
Considering that the cost of producing graphene-based solar cells has always been an obstacle, this new technology might hold the key to cost-effective solar power. I guess we should remain patient for just a bit longer until the scientists turn this invention into a commercial product.
Image (c) Gizmodo