Solar power is a promising alternative to conventional, non-renewable sources of energy. However, solar panels that are currently used require toxic materials as buffers, which are not sustainable. In a bid to find a sustainable alternative, a team of scientists have developed a new eco-friendly alternative called ZTO buffer. This alternative can overcome the limitation of currently used solar panels.
In fact, given the crisis related to imminent climate change, the transition to renewable energy needs to be accelerated. Meanwhile, in recent years, solar power has emerged as one of the most dependable source fewest for this task. A team of researchers at Incheon National University, Korea explain their newest contribution to this field.
Novel Solar cells cheaper, eco-friendly
Composition-wise, solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, wherein materials that are subject to light produced excited electrons. In other words, this is electric current. Novel thin-film solar cells are made up of submicrometer or micrometer, which are thick layers of a photovoltaic material. This allows them to be integrated into lightweight, flexible panels for use in a variety of substrates. The process, however, has some limitations.
In fact, most thin-film solar cells include expensive and toxic elements, which may slow the expansion of solar cell applications. Meanwhile, the team of researchers at Incheon National University are working on the production of a solar cell made of materials that are naturally available in abundance, are eco-friendly, and are easy to obtain, and inexpensive to manufacture.
For this, the scientists considered eco-friendly cells composed of kesterite – naturally available mineral that acts as a photon absorber. Most solar cells made of kesterite use a buffer layer composed of cadmium sulfide to optimize their performance.