If there’s one type we can’t stand at LSS it’s can’t-doers and nay-sayers. There were lots of them around fifteen years ago, trotting out their gloom about how solar power could never work, it was expensive, it was inefficient. Fortunately Professor Henry Snaith and his company Oxford PV* don’t listen to rubbish. Instead they are pushing back the boundaries on new solar panels which will soon revolutionise our homes, workplaces, and so slash carbon emissions.
We’ve come a long way with solar panels, but they tend to operate at only around 20% efficiency. That’s because their semiconductor layer is made of silicon, which absorbs best in the red end of the spectrum. Henry’s idea is to incorporate a second layer of Perovskite, which looks for the bluer end. He thinks he can now push the efficiency up to around 44%. And that’s not all.
The perovskite idea has been floating around for a while, but Henry has taken the bull by the horns and set up a factory in Germany which should soon be churning out these panels big time. Instead of a 320W output, your average panel could now be churning out 440W. They hope to add a third layer which could take efficiency up to 50%, close to the practical limit from solar panels.
There’s so much to like here. The combination of learning, intelligence and optimism to try something new. Uniting the best of technology and finance to make a real difference. International co-operation, implying faster spreads of new ideas and systems, as well as economies of scale in production. As for their research labs-it’s a masterpiece of antiseptic efficiency, just look at their website if you don’t believe us!
And its not the only great new idea. The BBC has a series discussing 38 other ways to save the planet.* We link to their Oxford PV podcast below, with Tom Heap, but you might want to try a few more. Room for optimism, dare we think?
#perovskite #oxfordpv #solarpanels #renewable energy #globalwarmimg #climatechange