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Photovoltaics

Photovoltaics provides an inexhaustible, clean source of energy. However, the efficiency levels achieved are still relatively low, in particular for solar cells of the kind used in conventional roof and field systems.

A number of alternatives to the widely used standard silicon solar cells are being researched at the Photovoltaics division (IEK-5). These mainly include alternative materials for thin-film cells, as well as options for use in combination with silicon wafer cells. These innovative hybrid solar cells consist of a combination of organic and inorganic materials and offer a number of advantages: their light-absorption properties are better, they separate charge carriers in a highly-efficient manner and are less expensive to produce than the materials used to date, making them both more cost-effective and efficient.

The research also focuses on artificial photosynthesis; using a combination of solar cells and electrolysers, fuels such as hydrogen can be produced using renewable energy sources. In this area the IEK-5 division is working to increase the efficiency of individual components and to produce a realistic design for such a system, making its practical application possible for the first time.

Institutes:

Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
Photovoltaics (IEK-5)

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