Photovoltaics and PVD: a step toward Green energy efficiency
The sputtering deposition method called gig-lox, developed in CNR laboratories in Catania, represents an important milestone in the field of solar energy and lays the foundation for a more sustainable future.
A recent study held by the CNR (National Research Council), in Catania, Italy, demonstrated once again how PVD technology can make a difference when it comes to environmental sustainability.
Among the biggest challenges faced by manufacturing companies in recent years are: reducing the consumption of toxic materials for industrial use, decreasing waste, and maintaining the performance of finished products even after green processing.
The deposition system based on a modified sputtering method called "gig-lox" represents the result of new ideas for technological development and the fruit of years of research in the field of renewable energy, especially solar energy.
The main challenge is aimed at third-generation Perovskite photovoltaics, which is flanking commercially available silicon technology with comparable performances. In some applications, for which silicon cells pose major limitations, perovskite solar cells will be the solution to obtain clean energy under all conditions and in sufficient quantity for any requirement. The invention based on gig-lox method addresses the need to effectively capture any lead possibly released from Perovskite Solar Cells during their use in extreme working conditions, such as for outdoor installations damaged by catastrophic weather events (hail). The discovery of this new method resolves every possible concern related to the presence of lead in the chemical formulation of Perovskites, which are linked to the toxicity of the material. To fully understand the technological significance of the discovery, it is important to know that lead is indispensable within Perovskites because it contributes to the high performance of solar cells. Finding a way to maintain high performance without compromising the safety of the ecosystem is therefore a key technological issue.
By incorporating a thin film of titanium dioxide (TiO2), known for its high absorption capacities toward metal ions, it was possible to curb the problem of lead leakage into the environment due to the material's contact with rainwater.
Tests have shown that a thin porous layer of TiO2 can absorb up to 99.8 percent of lead leakage, preventing it from spreading into the environment.
The sputtering deposition method called gig-lox was developed in CNR laboratories in Catania thanks to the special machine designed by CNR-IMM and made by Kenosistec.
The project was born from the collaboration of Kenosistec's technical department, led by Dr. Stefano Perugini, and CNR researchers under the scientific coordination of Dr. Alessandra Alberti. The particular solutions designed, have strongly contributed to the development of this new deposition method, which allows, for this specific application in photovoltaics, to significantly reduce the risks associated with the use of lead, without compromising the efficiency and performance of perovskite solar cells.
This milestone represents an important step in the field of solar energy and lays the foundation for a more sustainable future, opening new prospects for large-scale industrial adoption of this technology, which can contribute significantly to making perovskite solar cell production more sustainable.
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