New coating covers perovskite solar cells' last Achilles heel

New coating covers perovskite solar cells' last Achilles heel
A new coating helps protect perovskite from the elements, allowing it to keep its efficiency high for longer
A new coating helps protect perovskite from the elements, allowing it to keep its efficiency high for longer
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A new coating helps protect perovskite from the elements, allowing it to keep its efficiency high for longer
A new coating helps protect perovskite from the elements, allowing it to keep its efficiency high for longer

Perovskite is quickly gaining on silicon in the solar cell field, but it has one major drawback – durability. Now, a new treatment has been shown to keep perovskite solar cells working at 99% of their efficiency after 1,000 hours of use.

Silicon solar cells may have had a head start of several decades, but perovskite is rapidly closing the gap after only about 15 years. Not only is its efficiency approaching that of silicon, but it's also cheaper, lighter and more flexible.

But of course, there’s a catch – perovskites tend to break down when exposed to the elements, which isn’t ideal for devices designed to sit out in the Sun all day, every day, for decades. Scientists have experimented with strengthening them by adding bulky molecules, 2D additives, carbon nanodots made of hair, or quantum dots, among other things.

Now a team has used a new adhesive to protect perovskites. It’s called BondLynx, and it was originally produced by Canadian materials company XlynX for other purposes before being tested on solar cells.

The problem with perovskites begins when organic components in the material are activated by heat and light and can escape, weakening the perovskite and damaging other materials in the solar cell. BondLynx is a crosslinker that forms chemical covalent bonds with those organic components, preventing them from wiggling loose and reducing efficiency.

The team treated perovskite solar cells with BondLynx, and then exposed them to long-term heat and light to see how well they fared compared to solar cells that hadn’t been treated. The solar cells started with an efficiency of 24%, and retained almost 99% of this after 1,000 hours of continuous exposure to simulated sunlight. By comparison, untreated solar cells lost 35% of their original efficiency under the same conditions over the same time frame.

The solar cells were also exposed to a constant heat of 60 °C (140 °F) for 600 hours. The BondLynx-treated ones managed to hang onto almost 98% of their efficiency over that time, while the control group lost 27% of theirs.

Although the tests were only conducted for a matter of months, the fact that the treated cells barely lost any efficiency at all suggests they should be able to endure for far longer. Along with another recent coating was estimated to give perovskite solar cells a 30-year lifetime, this plucky new contender might have patched up its Achilles heel and soon challenge silicon for solar supremacy.

The research was published in the journal Joule.

Source: XlynX

1000 Hrs is just under 42 days. This it not a long time!
By the way, all these millions of solar panels are going to need replacing before not too long! Also the wind turbines!
Assuming that performance continues, that would be a loss of a couple of percent a year or so, which is not that far from silicon. If it's cheap enough, that would certainly do for gadgets and wearables and other things with limited lives that don't spend their whole time in the sun. (In my dreams, I'm imagining it cheap enough to paint on the sides of semi-trailers just because the space is available.)
Lets see some extrapolation out to ~220,000 hours (25 years). :-) I am betting there's a degradation curve; perhaps it's favorable!
Hey, 35 years at a time or until we get some style. Meanwhile what's good to stick to the side of a trailer?!? Flexible solar cells? Harvesting bots? Graphics for e-braking random makes of car? Just particulate management titania vanadia for the good neighbor clout?
Windykites - 'standard' solar irradiance is about 1000w of light per square meter. BUT they didn't mention the degree of light they were exposed to. Was it an accelerated test of maybe 5000W per square meter? (and that doesn't necessarily mean that the lifespan would be 5 times as much - so 260 days) Maybe doubling the 1000W to 2000W simulates 10 years of degradation? You cannot make assumptions based on incomplete data.

Also, what defines the life of a solar panel? There are Arco panels virtually handmade in California in the mid 1970's that are still producing 70 to 80% of their rated output close to 50 years later. I have bought 2nd hand panels - cheap as chips because nobody values them (their efficiency is lower - which just means you need more area to generate the same power - not that they are inferior) and they continue to perform well. They are at least 15 -20 years old.
@windykites, I don't know about you, but the sun doesn't shine 24 hours a day where I live.
Why extrapolate? Let's just wait 25 years before we sell it to the public.
Treon Verdery
laser peeened metals are 14-19 times stronger and also much less chemically reactive, it could be that laser peening of polycrstalline polymers and polymer films are also possible, making polymer films 14-19 times or greater sterngth, with greatly reduced chemical reactivity lengyhening the durability of perovskite photovolatics and other photovoltaics, and even radiative cooling fin metal, coating, and paints.