High-speed manufacturing could advance the commercialization of perovskite modules, a green alternative to conventional solar panels made of silicon. Most solar cells today are made with refined silicon that turns sunlight into clean electricity. Unfortunately, the process of refining silicon is far from clean, requiring vast amounts of energy from carbon-emitting power plants. A perovskite solar module produced by rapid-spray plasma processing. Stanford Prof. Reinhold Dauskardt’s lab has shown that perovskite modules can be produced cheaper and four times faster than conventional silicon panels. (Image credit: Nick Rolston) For a greener alternative to silicon, researchers have focused on thin-film perovskites – low-cost, flexible solar cells that can be produced with minimal energy and virtually no CO 2 emissions. While perovskite solar cells are promising, significant challenges need to be addressed before they can become commonplace, not least of which is their inherent instability, which makes manufacturing them at scale difficult. “Perovskite solar technology is at a crossroads between commercialization and flimflammery,” said Stanford University postdoctoral scholar Nick Rolston . “Millions of dollars are being poured into startups. But I strongly believe that in the next three years, if there isn’t a breakthrough that extends cell lifetimes, that money will […]

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