Perovskite is a promising, abundant mineral that is being developed for the solar energy industry to increase solar panel efficiency. It is a calcium titanium oxide mineral discovered in the Ural Mountains of Russia by Gustav Rose in 1839. Its chemical formula is CaTiO3. The mineral is very efficient in absorbing light and when compared to other solar absorbers uses less material to acquire the same amount of energy. Thus, cheaper solar power. Perovskite can withstand temperatures of up to 2000° Celsius and can be made artificially by compressing olivine, pyroxene, and garnet.
Solar energy, a clean and renewable energy, has been a fast-growing alternative to fossil fuel for quite a while now. Out of the many solar materials, perovskite has started to gain a whole lot of interest from researchers. As they continue to increase the minerals efficiency, researchers are saying it could be the answer to high-efficiency solar power.
Perovskite cells break down within a couple of hours to few days when exposed to air. The cells deteriorate even faster when exhibited to moisture due to its hygroscopic nature. However, in order to overcome this limitation, UCLA professor Yang Yang and his team decided to protect perovskite in between two layers of metal oxide. This extended the cells life by 10 fold. The metal oxide cells lasted 60 days in open air storage at room temperature and significantly enhanced the efficiency. Yang and his team are now looking to make the metal oxide layers more condensed to increase efficiency.
Though it has its limitations – weak to water and quick to lose its stability in humid environment – researchers, through great investigation, have been able to increase its power conversion efficiency from 3% in 2009 to 22% today. With such potential, researchers widely consider perovskite to be the next generation power energy device.
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