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Advancing Utah's Energy Future

U of U researchers say crystaline material has incredible solar power potential

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Fox 13

The best hope for cheap and efficient solar power could be one step closer to becoming a reality thanks to researchers at the University of Utah.

Researchers have been unlocking the secrets of the crystalline material known as perovskite. Valy Vardeny, a U of U professor of physics and astronomy, said that material is the wave of the future.

“It’s relatively inexpensive, so you can put it on windows, so you can actually paint windows with perovskites,” Vardeny said. “My opinion, this will be the future.”

Perovskite is a hybrid of organic and inorganic crystals. They are great light absorbers and are cheaper to make than silicon wafers, which is what’s used in standard solar cells.

“They are made out of solutions, so they are cheap,” Vardeny said. “Of course, those materials right now have lead in it, and lead is poison… but sooner or later, we will have that replaced. We are working on it to replace lead by other things.”

In just five years of development, the perovskite solar cells have attained power conversion efficiency that took decades to achieve with the top-performing conventional materials used to generate electricity from sunlight.

Dali Sun is part of the project, and he said their progress is exiting. (…)

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