A team of researchers from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and its spin-off, Graphene Flagship Associate Member BeDimensional, in alliance with ENEA has successfully mixed graphene with tandem perovskite-silicon photo-voltaic cells to realize efficiencies of as much as 26.3%.
Moreover, they developed a new manufacturing method, because of the versatility of graphene, that permits to cut production costs and could result in the production of large-area photovoltaic panels. Graphene-based tandem solar cells virtually double the performance of pure silicon.
Laws of physics limit the utmost efficiency of silicon solar cells to 32%.
For that reason, scientists have spent many years attempting to find other alternatives, such as III-V and perovskites. Nonetheless, the latter presents some manufacturing difficulties, and scaling up the production of photovoltaic panels is a critical step towards success.
With ‘tandem cells,” scientists had previously mixed the advantages of silicon as well as perovskites—however, stability, efficiency, and large-scale manufacturing still appeared like a far-fledged dream.
However, then graphene came in aid—and it could be a game-changer. Graphene Flagship researchers learned its potential for energy harvesting, and have assigned two different industry-oriented “Spearhead Projects’ to dig into the possibilities of graphene-based photovoltaic cells.
The new paper revealed in Joule, titled “Mechanically stacked, two-terminal graphene-based perovskite/silicon tandem solar cell with 25.9% stabilized efficiency,” is yet another evidence that graphene and similar layered materials will allow the commercialization of cost-effective solar panels.