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Big modules head for standardisation

PV manufacturing giant Trina Solar says it has agreed with other industry players on a set of standard dimensions and other technical specifications for PV modules utilising 210mm wafers – the largest currently available on the market. The manufacturer says it expects the China Photovoltaic Industry Association to formally release the standard before the end of October.

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Umicore to purchase 42,000 tons of Australian lithium battery material

Belgian materials company Umicore has signed a contract with Australia headquartered Vulcan Energy Resources to purchase up to 42,000 tons of lithium hydroxide over a five year period beginning in 2025. The material will be used in Umicore’s production of cathode materials for lithium-ion cell manufacturers.

Strong potential for inorganic perovskites

Scientists in the United States have developed a method to compare the performance and number of defects in different perovskite cell materials. Based on simulations and work with prototype materials, the group finds that all-inorganic materials have higher potential efficiency than their more widely researched organic-inorganic counterparts.

Reliance Industries acquires 100% stake in REC Group, plans new manufacturing bases

India headquartered multinational Reliance Industries, through its subsidiary Reliance New Energy Solar Limited, yesterday announced the acquisition of Norway headquartered module manufacturer REC Group. The move comes as Reliance pushes forward with its US$10 billion plan to move in on the renewable energy industry, having also this week announced acquisition of a 40% share in EPC provider Sterling & Wilson.

New ‘matrix’ layout for shingled solar cells

German equipment supplier M10 and research institute Fraunhofer ISE will unveil a new prototype stringer for shingled module layouts at the Intersolar Europe trade show later this week. Employing an offset layout for the shingles, the approach promises a relative efficiency gain of up to 6%, compared to a conventional half-cell module.

Comparing new solar module formats

JA Solar published data comparing its own modules, based on the 182mm wafer format, with others utilising the larger 210mm size over a six month period in field testing. The data show that the smaller of the two formats reached an average daily energy yield almost 2% higher. According to JA Solar’s analysis, the higher currents produced by the 210mm modules led to higher resistance, and more energy lost as heat.

Designer bacteria for energy storage

A group of biologists in the United States working with a bacteria discovered a mechanism that could be used to convert electricity into biofuels or other useful substances. With better understanding of the genetics, the group says the mechanism could rival hydrogen for the storage of renewable energy.

Perovskites can also detect nuclear radiation

Scientists in Switzerland found that perovskites can be used to detect thermal neutrons emitted by radioactive devices. Taking advantage of several properties that also make the materials attractive for solar cell applications, the group was able to fabricate a novel device that could have various practical applications, including in energy generation.

Measuring impacts on solar performance, whatever the weather

Scientists in the United States used machine learning to analyse maintenance reports, performance data and weather records from more than 800 solar farms located across the country. The analysis allowed them to determine which weather conditions have the biggest impact on PV generation, and to suggest the most effective ways to boost the resilience of PV installations to extreme weather events.

Novel battery chemistry for zinc-ion batteries

Scientists have demonstrated a zinc-ion battery that overcomes many of the challenges for this technology. By working with a highly-concentrated salt solution as the electrolyte, the group was able to achieve stability over more than 2,000 cycles combined with a strong electric performance. The group says that its work opens up “a viable route to developing aqueous batteries for emerging electrochemical energy storage applications.”

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