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Microwave annealing of silicon solar cells – pv magazine International


Australian researchers have developed a brand new microwave know-how that may enhance solar-cell manufacturing by bettering manufacturing processes and making it simpler to recycle.

Researchers at Macquarie College in Sydney have developed microwave know-how that they are saying might enhance the manufacturing of photo voltaic cells, whereas making them simpler to recycle.

Throughout the manufacture of photo voltaic panels, silicon undergoes a number of high-temperature processes often known as annealing. Presently the cells are baked in an oven. However in a current paper on Utilized Physics Lettersa staff led by senior lecturer Binesh P Veettil has proven that heating utilizing microwave radiation is sort of as environment friendly, whereas saving appreciable time and vitality and providing different benefits.

The microwave radiation selectively heats the silicon, resulting in near-instant results with important vitality financial savings, the researchers stated.

“Microwave annealing of semiconductor gadgets has not been broadly researched and isn’t utilized in trade, however it has the potential to cut back the time and value related to large-volume semiconductor processing, similar to varied processes within the heating and annealing required to make photovoltaic modules,” the researchers wrote.

The paper describes the microwave annealing of silicon photo voltaic cells, the efficient adjustment of light-induced defects, and the discount of sunshine degradation. The researchers discovered that silicon photo voltaic cells are quickly heated in a microwave discipline and that efficient boron-oxygen defect passivation might be achieved by microwave processing in lower than two seconds. Microwave annealing gave comparable outcomes in comparison with fast thermal annealing, they discovered.

Using microwave radiation leaves the remaining laminated panels of glass, plastic and aluminum largely unaffected. That property led to an sudden profit in recycling, for which the group has a patent pending.

The microwave remedy softens the plastic (ethylene vinyl acetate) coating that protects the silicon plate from moisture and contamination, making it potential to take away it mechanically. So the plate might be simply delaminated and its parts might be reused with out the usage of harsh chemical substances.

“Till now it made financial sense to simply throw the panels within the landfill,” Veettil stated. “Within the uncommon situations when it’s recycled, you crush the panels, warmth them to about 1,400 C and wash them with chemical substances to take away the plastic – a really energy-intensive course of. However now, whereas the photo voltaic panels that started to be put in in giant numbers about 20 to 30 years in the past are nearing the tip of their life and have been decommissioned, governments are asking to recycle them.”

Different benefits supplied by microwave annealing embody the flexibility to focus microwave radiation. The heating it causes might be selective and superb. Researchers have famous, for instance, that higher directed annealing is especially helpful in newer panels with heterojunction know-how, the place crystalline and amorphous silicon are interleaved.

“Exact focusing additionally implies that the annealing might be directed to particular components of the photo voltaic panel, making it ideally suited for annealing photo voltaic panels with extra advanced inner buildings made for for particular functions,” the staff added.

In distinction to an oven, the place all types of chemical substances are poured from the partitions, microwave annealing takes place in a clear surroundings. “So there’s much less contamination,” Veettil defined. “And the entire course of can all be performed at room temperature.”

There are a lot of different initiatives involving photo voltaic cells and sustainable vitality that Macquarie has began. One of many co-authors of the annealing paper, Shujuan Huang, led a gaggle investigating microwave annealing of perovskite photo voltaic cells. On this case, microwave radiation produces extra environment friendly photo voltaic cells in comparison with typical annealing strategies, however the reason being not clear. Researchers at the moment are seeking to resolve that thriller.

Veettil’s analysis in collaboration with the varsity of photovoltaics on the College of New South Wales in Sydney, was initiated with funding from the Australian Middle for Superior Photovoltaics and additional supported by the Australian authorities via the Australian Renewable Power Company.

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