The field of solar power and photovoltaic cells has developed enormously over the past decade, providing opportunities for even greater innovations.
One of these is presented in the latest issue of Advanced Materials, a team from the Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore. The researchers proposed using low temperature meltable alloys to increase power efficiency, and harvesting light through specific flurorescent dyes in the non-active zone of the cells.
Re-direction and re-emission of incident white light is achieved by introducing dyes in the electrode gaps. The light is therefore converted to a more desired wavelength for the device, a process which the researchers refer to as active encapsulation.
They showed that in this way, the efficiency is increased by 12%. The technique can be used on various organic cells, since there is a wide selection of dye-molecules and a large range of melt processible alloys.
According to specialists in the field, the idea is novel, and solves the problem of upscaling, which is very common in polymer cells.
The intellectual property belongs to Narayan, the lead researcher in the study. He believes that the applications of the technique are many, especially in a country like India, where new renewable energy experiments emerge almost constantly.
With this technology, according to Tobias Engelmeier, managing director of Bridge to India, an environment consulting company in New Delhi, organic cells would accelerate the decentralized power generation and bring down costs.
The study provides a revolution in technology, unlike most breakthroughs in the field of solar power, where most advances are related to cost, scale and volume.
It is expected that the global next-generation organic solar cell market to grow at 66.23 percent in the period 2012-2016.
The only question which remains is whether the technology will be commercialized. According to Rajesh Rai, chief executive of India Innovation Fund which invests in IP-driven start-ups, comments that Narayan should find a corporate partner.