NTU scientists discover a way to produce cheaper, more powerful solar cells

Prof Subodh Mhaisalkar (left) and Dr Nripan Mathews (right) hold the new Perosvkite solar cells made in NTU labs with hopes of using it to develop a solar cell module, as held by Prof Sum Tze Chien. Scientists from Nanyang Technological Universi
Prof Subodh Mhaisalkar (left) and Dr Nripan Mathews (right) hold the new Perosvkite solar cells made in NTU labs with hopes of using it to develop a solar cell module, as held by Prof Sum Tze Chien. Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered a way to produce cheaper and more powerful solar cells. -- PHOTO: NTU

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have discovered a way to produce cheaper and more powerful solar cells.

Made from organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite materials, these next generation solar cells, are about five times cheaper than the silicon-based solar cells available currently. This is due to a simpler solution-based manufacturing process.

Perovskite is known as a useful solar cell material as it can convert up to 15 per cent of sunlight to electricity - close to the efficiency of the current solar cells, but scientists did not know why or how. The interdisciplinary research team from NTU was the first in the world to explain the discovery in a paper published in the academic journal, Science, last Friday.

"The excellent properties of these materials, allow us to make light weight, flexible solar cells on plastic using cheap processes without sacrificing the good sunlight conversion efficiency," said Dr Nripan Mathews, a senior scientist at the Energy Research Institute at NTU, who led a team of eight researchers alongside assistant professor Sum Tze Chien.