Multi-Layer Plastic Solar Cells are Efficient and Inexpensive
Researchers at DTU Energy Conversion in Denmark have created a multi-layered plastic solar cell that is highly efficient and inexpensive. The driving ideals behind the design are focused on making solar a more financially viable solution. The cells are also flexible, making them highly adaptable and easy to use in a variety of settings.
Alone, the plastic is ultimately inefficient, but the multi-layered design remedies that.
“When it comes to making plastic solar cells, the challenge is that each material only has a relatively limited spectrum in which it can absorb light,” explains Jens Wenzel Andreasen, Senior Researcher at DTU Energy Conversion. “We have therefore started to make ‘tandem solar cells’, which involves positioning layers of solar cells with different properties on top of each other. One layer absorbs a specific part of the spectrum, and then the remaining light passes through it to be captured by the next layer.”
Though it may sound like relatively simple–stacking a bunch of panels on top of one another–it’s actually quite complex.
“You have to have an extra layer between the two layers of cells to deal with the released charges that are to produce current,” Andreasen said. “Another problem is that you have to make sure not to damage the layer you have just made when you position a new layer on top of it.”
While the scientists have worked to address this problem, the cost of the panels is still important. Last year, solar prices dropped 15 percent and are expected to fall even more in 2014. Innovative panel designs such as these are driving that trend. Their adaptability and versatility are key factors in driving wider-scoped solar installations.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.