Self-assembling Perovskite Absorbers - Cells Engineered into Modules (SPACE-Modules)

Lead Research Organisation: Bangor University
Department Name: Sch of Chemistry

Abstract

Climate change affects everyone on the planet through changing weather patterns particularly leading to increased occurrence of extreme weather which can, for instance, result in very intense rainfall leading to flooding or prolonged absence of rain leading to drought. Climate change is driven by increased atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide) which trap heat which would otherwise be dissipated away from the planet's surface. The biggest source of increasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels to generate energy (e.g. to generate electricity in coal or gas-fired power stations and/or in the internal combustion engines or cars/lorries/buses etc.).

Climate change is arguably the biggest and most urgent challenge currently facing humankind. The paradox is that global society is expanding rapidly and that society wants to use ever increasing amounts of energy whilst, at the same time, we must urgently and significantly reduce the amount of energy-related greenhouse gases we are releasing. At the same time, energy costs are on an upward trend which is predicted to continue for the foreseeable future.

The answer is renewable energy whereby energy is sustainably generated with no greenhouse gas emissions. However, current and predicted energy demand is huge and so the required scale of global renewable energy generation must match this. The most likely scenario is that future energy generation will rely on a patchwork of renewable energy sources (e.g. wind, hydroelectric, biomass, solar) with one energy source picking up the slack when another is generating poorly. However, this must still be produced at a cost that the customer can afford.

When considering solar energy, there is huge surplus falling on the Earth's surface every day (approximately 6,000 times more than annual global energy consumption). This suggests that for 10% efficient solar cells, covering 0.2% of the crust with solar panels would meet energy demand.

Hence, the primary challenge is to be able to manufacture solar cells at sufficient scale to meet this energy demand. Currently, about 90% of solar cell modules sold are crystalline silicon (cSi) which are sandwiched between two sheets of glass and then either bolted to frames on roof surfaces or floor mounted in solar farms. The problems with cSi modules are that they are manufactured using batch processes, which involves a lot of staff which makes it harder for the UK to compete because our labour costs tend to be higher.

For new solar cell technologies to compete with cSi, they must be available at the right cost to the customer. They must also contain low embodied energy (that is the energy which is takes to manufacture them). Combining these two factors will reduce the initial cost the customer which will increase uptake. It will also significantly reduce pay-back times; i.e. the time the solar cells must be installed before the customer has saved enough money on their energy bills to have paid off the initial purchase costs.

Perovskite solar cells (the subject of this research) were discovered by Professor Snaith at Oxford University in 2012. These devices offer great potential for very large scale solar cell uptake because they convert solar energy to electricity very efficiently and all the device components are abundant. The device components are also printable onto flexible substrates, which means that this technology should be suitable for roll-to-roll processing which is not labour intensive and which can be very rapid. Printing devices onto flexible substrates means that it should also be possible to integrate these devices into commercial products; for instance for mobile device charging such as mobile phones or onto the outside of buildings to generate energy at the point of use.

Planned Impact

1. The proposal will scale perovskite PV devices from lab-scale devices (1cm2) to modules using pilot scale continuous, roll-to-roll manufacturing which opens the potential for very large scale production.

2. The research will develop the fundamental understanding to scale perovskite device raw materials which will enable the creation of a supply chain.

3. The research will develop new understanding of processing multiple layer, nanoscale materials on low cost substrates which are not perfectly flat. This new knowledge will be transferrable to a wide range of new, advanced materials which often use nanoscale substances.

4. The research will produce understanding of failure mechanisms and mitigation strategies to extend perovskite module lifetimes under indoor and outdoor exposure conditions.

5. The research will generate high impact journal publications (e.g. Nature and Energy & Environmental Science) and be presented at international conferences (e.g. MRS, APS, ACS, EU-PVSEC).

6. The project will generate highly trained and inter-disciplinary scientists and engineers to support the growing PV and advanced materials industry.

7. By developing a new PV manufacturing technology in the UK, the research will generate significant wealth and create jobs in the UK; e.g. it has been estimated (European PV Industry Association) that PV manufacturing creates 3-7 direct jobs in production and between 12 and 20 indirect jobs per MWp.

8. The proposal will help deliver UK Govt. targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to < 80% of the 1990 value by 2050 including work on building integrated PV (BIPV) to help deliver DECC policy of "buildings as powers stations".

9. The proposed research will improve global health and quality of life by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy generation which will reduce the impact of climate change.

10. To disseminate the impact of the project to wider society, the Swansea-led Materials Live project will coordinate impact activities from schools
engagement to the production of lab demonstrator systems for public showcase.

11. The proposal will generate intellectual property (IP) and the Project Management Team will manage the exploitation of this IP through project partners, SPECIFIC IKC partners and/or new spin-out companies.

Publications

10 25 50

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
EP/M015254/1 01/03/2015 28/02/2017 £2,513,161
EP/M015254/2 Transfer EP/M015254/1 01/03/2017 29/02/2020 £1,827,825
 
Description We have developed solvent-free perovskite inks which produce light harvesting layers for PV devices but which also have longer lifetimes. We have also developed imaging techniques to help study device processing and lifetime and have carried out further studies of device lifetimes. We have also been developing low cost alternatives to some of the device materials. For instance, we have found lower temperature (and so lower energy) ways to make solar cell devices and we have developed cheaper charge carrying materials to reduce materials costs.
Exploitation Route We believe that solvent-free approaches are an important breakthrough in helping to scale PV devices. We also believe that low cost materials will be key for the commercialisation of perovskite solar cells. We are also working on ways to surface engineer dye-sensitized solar cells to make them easier to manufacture and more efficient and durable.
Sectors Chemicals,Construction,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Transport

URL http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2016/cc/c5cc09859a#!divAbstract
 
Description This award is at an early stage and was transferred to Swansea University this year so I have put impacts into that section
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Education,Energy
Impact Types Societal

 
Description Solar Photovoltaic Academic Research Consortium II (SPARC II)
Amount £449,913 (GBP)
Organisation European Commission 
Sector Public
Country European Union (EU)
Start 07/2017 
End 12/2020
 
Description Surface engineering of solid state dye-sensitized solar cells
Amount £1,200,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P030068/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2017 
End 08/2020
 
Title Perovskite pigments for solar cells. 
Description Development of solvent-free perovskite inks for solar cell processing 
IP Reference GB1410011.9 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact Paper just published (DOI: 10.1039/C5CC09859A)
 
Description Chemistry on a computer: exploring solar cell materials 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a KS5 workshop (7th July 2016) delivered at STFC, Daresbury to approx. 150 sixth form students from across the north west of Engliand on the links between theoretical and experimental science.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Chemistry, light and solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a demonstration and participation lecture delivered to school pupils at Rydal School, Colwyn Bay on 29th November 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Colour and light 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact This was a demonstration and participation lecture delivered to Year 9 school pupils at St David's College, Llandudno on 6th November 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Computational Chemistry: Solar Cell Materials 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Outreach workshop to 6th form students at STFC Daresbury open day event
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Designing solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an invited research seminar delivered at STFC, Daresbury on 4th November 2015. The talk considered the links between theory and experiment and how this can be used to help design better materials and devices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Developments and the importance of the manufacturing of 3rd generation photovoltaics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact This was an invited talk about innovation in solar cell technology to launch the Welsh Festival of Innovation at the SPECIFIC IKC at the Baglan Bay Innovation Centre, Swansea University on the 1st June 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Dimethylformamide and water - approaches to avoid solvent limitations in perovskite solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a research paper presented at the PVSAT-11 conference from 15-17 April 2015 at Leeds University. It discussed the danger of various solvents for perovskite device processing and some of the potential solutions to these problems.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited talk (Supersolar PV Hub Meeting) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact 30 postgraduate students from the Supersolar PV Hub attended a Research Methods for Solar PV II: Focus on PV Devices event at Liverpool University on 5th April 2016. I presented an update on the current status of dye-sensitized and perovskite solar cells.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2016
 
Description Light and Renewable Energy 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Public outreach event delivered to retired ladies group
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Materials Characterisation Applied to Dye-sensitized and perovskite solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Lecture delivered to Research methods for solar PV I: Materials and Characterisation" at the SuperSolar' PV Hub meeting
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Materials for 3rd Generation Photovoltaics 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was an invited paper delivered at the South Africa-UK Scientific Seminar "Functional Coatings for a Sustainable World on 14-16th January 2015 at Swansea University.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Rapid processing and lifetime testing of dye-sensitized solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation at national conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Science is fun 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I ran science workshops based around the interactions of chemistry and light for displaced Roma children and in a Romanian school near Siria in Romania from 6-13th June 2015
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Senses Activity Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Full day hands-on workshop delivered to young adult students at special educational needs college
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Senses Activity Workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Full day science activity workshop for young adult special needs students delivered at Pengwern SEN College.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Studies of Dye Processing, Surface Interactions and Lifetimes for DSC Devices 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation to international conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Tailoring electronic materials - pico-scale, bespoke design for rapid delivery at scale 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a research talk presented at the Sêr Solar Symposium at Swansea University on the 8th Nov 2016. The talk presented recent developments in materials for perovskite solar cells.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Thermal and evolved gas analysis as a tool for investigating process conditions 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a research paper presented at Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics conference - HOPV15 from 10-13 May 2015 at Rome, Italy. The paper discussed methods to study the solvent release from perovskite materials during processing and subsequent operational lifetime.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Towards low cost printable perovskite solar cells 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact This was a research paper presented at PVSAT-12 conference from 6-8 April 2016 at Liverpool University. The paper presented a new, solvent-free approach to manufacturing perovskite solar cells which eliminates the problems associated with previous solvent approaches to making these devices.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Train the teachers - STEM event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact We delivered a training event for teachers at a special educational needs college for young adults
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Train the teachers - STEM event 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Teachers workshop held at Pengwern Special Educational Needs College to support teachers ahead of outreach workshop with young adults with special needs who don't have access to a science curriculum.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Understanding and controlling electron transfer between sensitizer and electrolyte 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Research presentation at national conference (PVSAT - 2017)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017