Increasing efficiency solar cells

Increasing efficiency of solar cells

10:04 AM, 19th April 2012
Increasing efficiency of solar cells
Stephen Mulligan, department of mechanical engineering, University of Delaware.

DELAWARE, US: Stephen Mulligan, department of mechanical engineering, University of Delaware explained the effects of gas flow on newly developed solar cells. These cells could then act as improved gas flow sensors. Using a solar simulator, Mulligan and his team shined artificial sunlight on a series of solar cells to obtain a source of power, or voltage. They then blew gas, such as nitrogen, over the solar cells and noticed that their temperature lowered. This lower temperature, in turn, increased the solar cell’s efficiency by 5-10 per cent.

Mulligan had the opportunity to assemble the solar cells used in tests, an important aspect to the research’s results and success. “We were specifically working with carbon/silicon cells. I would assemble graphene, a flat, single-layer of carbon atoms, onto a silicon wafer. The cells’ flat membrane acted as the ideal structure for the tests we were running,” said Mulligan. First produced in 2004, interest in graphene use has exploded in recent years. “Graphene and nanotubes aren’t commonly used today but will increase capability and efficiency years down the road in the industry,” said Mulligan.

© University of Delaware News

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