Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy (Energy and Environment Series)

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9781849731874: Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy (Energy and Environment Series)
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MATERIALS CHALLENGES: INORGANIC PHOTOVOLTAIC SOLAR ENERGY by Stuart J C Irvine, 9781849731874

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"Materials Challenges" offers a new view which complements more technological ones ... Numerous figures, exhaustive references, authoritative accounts of each topic and a well prepared index make this book a reading pleasure -- Prof. Lorenzo Pavesi Photovoltaics (PV) is a fast growing market: the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of PV installations was 44 % during the period from 2000 to 2013. Deployment of modules is reaching a cumulative capacity of 200 GW. World record PV module efficiency is of 36.7 %, when concentrating lens are used in a four-junction solar cell, while best industrial silicon module efficiency is larger than 20%. 90% of the deployed PV modules are fabricated with silicon. Cost for PV module is less than 1$ per Watt. Energy Payback Time in the south of Europe is around one year, which - for a 20 years lifespan - means that PV can produce twenty times the energy needed to produce it. Still, there is large room for improvements in the field both on the technological level as well as on the scientific level. The book Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy looks at these improvements from a material science perspective. This renders its reading particularly interesting since it offers a new view which complements more technological ones. The book deals with the different strategies which are used to increase the photovoltaics conversion efficiency by using thin films made with inorganic materials. It contains several chapters which, starting from a general introduction to the economy of PV and to the basics of PV, take the reader through the many different possible paths for improvements. Thin films, nanowires, Transparent Conducting Oxide, Cadmium Telluride, Chalcogenides, III-V multi-junctions, nanostructures, light management, solar spectrum reshaping, are all concepts that are thoroughly presented and discussed in the book. Numerous figures, exhaustive references, authoritative accounts of each topic and a well prepared index make this book a reading pleasure. -- Prof. Lorenzo Pavesi Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy is a valuable, well-structured and well-written text on several aspects of photovoltaic solar energy conversion at both material and device levels. It is not a pretentious text conceived as a general handbook on the topic; nor a marginal study on remote details of a given specific PV technology. It is not the typical book on PV. Yet, it provides across its chapters a fair overview of relevant issues affecting and determining the performance and exploitation of solar cell designs, materials and requirements for PV. The idea of the book, as editor Stuart J C Irvine declares in the preface, has its origin in a long term collaborative research project on thin-film PV based in UK between 2004 and 2012. But the book is actually something different from just a collection of edited results in which each project partner contributes with the corresponding work packages. First, it is not a book just about thin-film PV; neither a book just on novel concepts. It is not even circumscribed to UK-based research authorship. Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy can be somehow considered as heterodox among the available monographs on photovoltaics. It can equally well serve the student as a learning tool on some of the basics of PV and the senior scientist in grasping the state of the art in specific areas of PV-related knowledge.The book is structured in nine chapters contributed by different research groups and covering techno-economic aspects of PV, thin-film PV operation fundamentals, cell absorbers (Si, CdTe, chalcogenides and III-V semiconductors) and TCO technologies, simulation and modeling, and light management strategies aiming at improved device performance. Over the general good level of the entire work some parts are particularly worth mention: T.J. Coutts and his team provide an excellent review on the activities carried out at NREL (USA) on transparent conductive oxides (TCO), a key material with implications in virtually all thin-film related technologies; D. Lane and co-workers present an interesting approach to new chalcogenide-based materials based on combinatorial analysis and material libraries as well as a self-contained survey of characterisation techniques; J. Connolly and D. Mencaraglia apply an analytical model to different devices based on III-V solar cells, with particular emphasis on differentiating radiative from non-radiative recombination mechanisms, and develop a general modeling strategy validated on single, tandem and triple junction solar cells; in the last chapter T. Markvart and colleagues review different ways of managing light for a better use in functioning devices, including resonant energy transfer approaches, fluorescent concentration and shift converters. Additionally, some topics are transversal and appear in different sections of the book, like the importance of availability and economics of material demand, or the relevance of bio-mimetic designs with potential benefit when applied to a number of thin-film technologies. On the cons side, it could be perhaps argued that the timing of publication of this book has certainly not been its best ally. The brand new revolution in PV-materials is called perovskite, a material system that has demonstrated recently impressive results and which was largely unknown to most PV-scientists at the beginning of the research project upon which this book was born. Not being a demerit, properly speaking, nor detracting any interest to its actual content, the absence of any single reference to the new competitor among the family of PV-materials could nevertheless lead the reader to conclude that this is the last "pre-perovskite" text on PV. In summary, the reader will find in Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy a useful source of information on an ample variety of aspects of PV-design at both material and device levels. -- David Fuentes, Instituto de Energia Solar - ETSIT, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid * RCS Energy & Environment Series, #12 * "Materials Challenges: Inorganic Photovoltaic Solar Energy is a valuable, well-structured and well-written text on several aspects of photovoltaic solar energy conversion at both material and device levels." "It can equally well serve the student as a learning tool on some of the basics of PV and the senior scientist in grasping the state of the art in specific areas of PV-related knowledge." -- David Fuentes, Instituto de Energia Solar - ETSIT, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid * RCS Energy & Environment Series, #12 *

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This authoritative reference covers the various aspects of materials science that will impact on the next generation of photovoltaic (PV) module technology. The emphasis on materials brings a fresh perspective to the literature and highlights crucial issues. Special attention is given to thin film PV materials, an area that is growing more rapidly than crystalline silicon and could dominate in the long term. The book addresses the fundamental aspects of PV solar cell materials and gives a comprehensive description of each major thin film material, either in research or production. Particular weight is given to the key materials drivers of solar conversion efficiency, long term stability, materials costs, and materials sustainability.

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