Renewing the potential of solar energy
To assist in meeting the European Union's (EU) ambitious sustainability goals, the Graphene Flagship has been investing in further research of sustainable graphene-perovskite photovoltaics, which could lead to more efficient renewable sources of energy. As one of the Graphene Flagship's Spearhead Projects, the Solar Farm project will create the world's first graphene-enabled solar farm. The installation will be in Crete, Greece, and ready to launch before the Spearhead Project ends in early 2020.
Graphene for sustainable applications has long been a research priority for the Graphene Flagship. As a dedicated Spearhead Project, the Solar Farm initiative will focus on the industrialisation and real-life deployment of solar energy harvesting technologies. This will ensure that the successful research efforts of graphene-enabled solar cells are implemented in the energy sector, bolstering EU efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
Led by Graphene Flagship partner University of Rome Tor Vergata, the project has already achieved great successes in relation to solar module development. Producing large area graphene perovskite solar modules, researchers have achieved power conversion efficiencies of 13.4 per cent and 15.3 per cent — this figure is based on active areas of 108cm² and 82cm² respectively, a colossal size for such a high level of efficiency. However, the project aims to surpass this figure in future.
"We have set ambitious targets for the solar farm project," explained Aldo di Carlo, Spearhead Leader for Energy Generation at the Graphene Flagship. "During the project, we will pave the way towards the future exploitation of graphene perovskite in tandem with solar cells, showing power conversion efficiencies far beyond present records. Alongside the creation of the world's first graphene-enabled solar farm at the premises of the Hellenic Miditerranean University of Crete, the project aims to reduce the levelized cost of energy below 20€/MWh."
The creation of a solar farm using graphene perovskite solar modules will bolster the efforts of the Graphene Flagship to demonstrate the potential of this technology in industry. The 1kWp solar farm, which is currently being developed in Crete, is in collaboration with the University of Rome Tor Vergata, the Hellenic Mediterranean University, the University of Cambridge, the Instituto Italiano di Tecnologia and the GreatCell Solar.
Graphene for greener energy
Many projects enabled by the Graphene Flagship – from small scale to large – strive to achieve a greener, more sustainable society.