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Hold your breath for a better battery

Recent research has revealed a previously underestimated role for oxygen in limiting the performance of lithium-ion batteries. Newly published research from both Japan and the United States has sought to look deeper into the chemical reactions at the heart of lithium-ion storage; and to better characterise the cumulative effects that minuscule amounts of oxygen released during these reactions can have on battery performance and safety.

n-type perovskite tandem cell hits 27% efficiency

Scientists demonstrated a perovskite-silicon tandem cell that reached 27% conversion efficiency. Though higher tandem cell efficiencies have been achieved, this represents a big jump in efficiency for those utilising n-i-p architecture, which previously had not surpassed 22%.

Bringing the noise for better solar cell efficiency

An international team of scientists developed a technique to isolate individual sources of electrical ‘noise’ within a solar cell. Comparing the technique to being able to pick out a single voice within a 200-person choir, they say the technique will help to improve understanding of where efficiency losses occur within a cell, and effective ways to mitigate them.

Investigating all-manganese flow batteries

Scientists in Germany fabricated an all-manganese flow battery, which they say serves as a proof of concept for the potential of such devices. Their results working with various battery configurations show that cheap, abundant manganese has plenty of potential for flow battery applications; and is worthy of further investigation in the frame of developing sustainable energy storage technologies.

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Simplifying solar cell deposition

Scientists in Germany have developed a new process for deposition of silicon dioxide layers during cell production. Without the need for high pressure, flammable gases, or vacuum conditions, the process could lead to cost reductions for cell manufacturers, provided it can be developed and applied in a large-scale production setting.

Perovskite stability, and the effects of defects

An international team of scientists fabricated perovskite solar cells which retained almost all of their initial 21% efficiency after 1,000 hours under continuous operation at their maximum power point. The researchers credit this performance to their discovery of an additive that served to ‘block’ ions that cause device degradation, and also hope their work will contribute to an improved understanding of the relationship between efficiency and stability in perovskite PV.

Saturday read: Manufacturing meets big data

As PV manufacturing lines continue to get larger, keeping track of the measurement data that’s vital for quality and process control becomes an ever more herculean task. Flashing equipment supplier h.a.l.m. has developed a software solution that keeps all of this data in one place and provides operators with a real-time view of production line performance and quality. pv magazine caught up with Managing Director Michael Meixner to discuss the latest on big data in PV manufacturing.

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Module testing reveals increase in mechanical failures

Last week, testing specialists PV Evolution Labs launched its latest Module Reliability Scorecard, which names more than 100 products from 26 manufacturers as top performers, after being put through their paces in extensive lab testing. This year’s scorecard reveals an increase in modules seeing at least one failure during the testing procedure, with newly added mechanical stress procedures causing the greatest number of failures.

Silicon for batteries moves to commercial production

U.S. company Group 14 Technologies has announced it will launch factory capable of producing 120 tons per year of its innovative silicon-carbon-based anode material for lithium-ion batteries. The factory is located at Group 14’s headquarters in Washington and is the first of several planned by the company.

Saturday read: New pathways in flexible thin film

Having picked up GBP 5.8 million ($8 million) in a series of investments, U.K.-based Power Roll is pushing ahead with pilot production of an innovative new thin film with which it can manufacture both solar modules and capacitors. In the future, the design could also bring the potential for solar generation and energy storage within a single lightweight device.

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