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Australian Scientists Develop World’s Most Efficient Solar Cell

Posted By Ariel Schwartz On August 25, 2009 @ 2:00 pm In Solar Power | 14 Comments

sustainable design, green design, solar power, unsw, australia, solar cell, silicon

The race for the world’s most efficient solar power cell [1] is forever played out in fractions of percentages. The latest victory comes from scientists at the University of New South Wales [2] in Australia, who have concocted a multi-cell combination that converts 43% of sunlight into electricity, besting the previous record of 42.7%!

sustainable design, green design, solar power, unsw, australia, solar cell, silicon

So how did the team break the record? By using a special silicon cell [3] optimized to harness light at the red and near-infrared end of the light spectrum. When the silicon cell was combined with four other cells made from gallium, indium, phosphorous and arsenic, the scientists were able to reach the magic 43% mark.

The same UNSW [2] scientific team has had success before — last year, they broke the record [4] for the world’s most efficient silicon solar cell, achieving 25% efficiency. But the newest record uses a combination of cells that can reach a greater efficiency than any single solar cell.

There are still some kinks to work out before the UNSW multi-cell combo is ready for everyday use. The cells have only been tested under lab conditions, and the non-silicon cells are still too expensive for most potential uses. Still, the record-breaking discovery bodes well for our solar-powered future.

Via Discovery News [5]


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URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/australian-scientists-develop-worlds-most-efficient-solar-cell/

URLs in this post:

[1] solar power cell: http://www.inhabitat.com/solar-power/

[2] University of New South Wales: http://www.unsw.edu.au/

[3] silicon cell: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell#Crystalline_silicon

[4] broke the record: http://www.eng.unsw.edu.au/news/2008/1031.htm

[5] Discovery News: http://blogs.discovery.com/news_sustainable/2009/08/solar_power_record.html

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