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Recycling process promises ‘better than new’ silicon wafers

Scientists in China have developed a new recycling process for PV modules that can recover intact silicon cells from end-of-life products, and process them back into wafers. As part of the recycling process, the wafers are purified and surface-treated, making them suitable for integration into new, high-efficiency cells and modules.

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Reaching beyond efficiency limits

An international group of scientists experimented with a concept known as a “hot junction” carrier cell, which holds the potential for efficiency beyond the theoretical limits assumed today. The group modelled various cell designs, seeking those that would be least affected by imperfections in the actual materials, compared to how they are modelled.

BYD launches new C&I battery

Chinese battery manufacturer BYD has launched an expanded portfolio of energy storage systems designed for the commercial and industrial solar markets. At The smarter E in Munich last month the company also provided a sneak peak at a new high-voltage storage system expected to be launched later this year.

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Gallium doping and solar cell degradation

German scientists have conducted a series of experiments on gallium-doped silicon solar cells to understand the causes of degradation in PV cells and modules treated with gallium rather than boron. They confirmed that the performance losses are caused by a bulk defect in the material, and found that the right combination of light and temperature can “heal” earlier damage and even lead to small improvements in overall cell efficiency.

Quantum well superlattices for a new world record cell efficiency of 39.5%

Scientists in the United States have fabricated a triple-junction solar cell that reached 39.5% efficiency – a world record for any type of cell under one-sun illumination. Though relying on materials and processes that are still too costly for most commercial uses, the concept could soon see actual applications in powering satellites and other space-bound technology.

New technologies, new opportunities

UK-based analyst Exawatt and Germany’s Nexwafe published a white paper this week that takes a close look at the current state of PV manufacturing worldwide, and how Nexwafe’s innovative wafer production tech might fit into it. They said that if the potential of its Epiwafer can be realised, the PV industry may yet see “another revolution in wafer manufacturing.”

Weekend read: Expansions in n-type

The past 12 months have been a turbulent time for PV manufacturing. Rapid and impressive developments in technology have been accompanied by price increases up and down the supply chain, and energy shortages weighed on production in the second half of the year. Chinese n-type module manufacturer Jolywood is now pressing ahead with ambitious expansion plans despite the disruption. pv magazine publisher Eckhart K. Gouras and editor Mark Hutchins recently caught up with Cathy Huang, European sales director at Jolywood, to discuss the company’s plans to bring n-type TOPCon technology into mainstream production.

Doped carbon for a reliable lithium sulfur battery

Scientists in South Korea developed a porous carbon material that, when applied as a coating to the separator film in a lithium-sulfur battery, was shown to reduce an unwanted side effect and improve the battery’s performance and reliability. The coating is based on methylene blue, a type of salt commonly used in textile dying.

Powering up PERC-perovskite tandem cells

Perovskite-silicon tandem cells offer one of the surest pathways to much higher solar efficiencies, one that has moved close to commercialisation in the past few years. Much of the work getting to this stage has naturally focused on developing a viable perovskite top cell. Optimisations to the silicon layer underneath, however, will also be important to the overall device function and efficiency. Scientists in Germany examined five different silicon cell concepts similar to those in mass production today, finding that with a few optimisations these could reach efficiencies up to 30.4%.

Grid stability and 100% renewables

New research from Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson seeks to remove any doubts about grid stability in a world powered entirely by renewable energy. The latest study models 100% wind water and solar powered grids across the United States, finding no risk of blackouts in any region and also broad benefits in cost reduction, job creation and land use.