Among the 6 new research Programmes of IPVF, let’s focus today on the one that aims at determining the optimal conditions for the development of Perovskite on Silicon Tandem cells and modules. This technology offers very good perspectives for taking solar cell efficiency much further. Sébastien Jutteau and Aurélien Duchatelet, both research engineers at EDF, explain us the objectives and the scope.
What were the beginnings of your research in the field of photovoltaic solutions?
After my graduation as a chemical engineer, I completed my thesis at IRDEP (Institute for Research and Development on Photovoltaic Energy). At that time, I was mainly working on the deposition of CIGS (photovoltaic technology based on copper, indium, gallium and selenium) by electrolysis and annealing. The goal was to develop a low-cost production process for an alternative technology to Silicon, which is currently the predominant technology in the photovoltaic industry. After being hired at EDF as a research engineer, I pursued this domain before turning to hybrid perovskite-based cells.
Like Aurélien, I’m also an engineer. I started an internship and then a thesis at IRDEP. I was then working on the design, prototyping and characterization of concentrated photovoltaic microsystems based on CIGS solar cells. I was then recruited by EDF as a research engineer, in the frame of the creation of IPVF. Since then, I have been working on the challenges of manufacturing perovskite-based solar cells on large surfaces, and on the integration of these cells into tandem configuration, that combine two solar technologies in one.
What are the objectives of this programme? How do you work on it?
A.D.: Today, silicon-based photovoltaic technologies account for 95% of the modules on the market. We know that the maximum conversion efficiency of these technologies cannot exceed 29% and alternatives must be developed to go beyond that. With tandem technologies, efficiencies of up to 42% are possible, which would be a very important step forward for the energy transition.
S.J.: We have organized the Perovskite/Silicon tandem programme into 2 work-packages in order to go from a detailed understanding of the material to the prototyping of tandem modules. With Aurélien Duchatelet and Jean Rousset, the Programme Manager, we are synchronizing our various research activities on the same objective: increase the performance of tandem cells and modules.
A.D.: In the first work package, we are working more particularly on perovskite technology, on small-area cells. The aim is to optimize the performance and stability of these cells by working on their architecture, the different layers constituting them and the interfaces between the different materials used.
S.J.: In the second work package, we are developing processes for the large-area manufacturing of perovskite cells, and working on their integration within a tandem module. In order to achieve this, we have to make the perovskite cells semi-transparent and work on its electrical structuring to then couple them with silicon-based cells. These devices are then tested in climatic chambers to see how the material behaves over time with variations in temperature and humidity. Eventually, they will be tested outdoors, directly on a roof or in a field, in real conditions. The aim is that the tandem cells will have a life span equivalent to silicon-based cells, i.e. a life span of 25-30 years.
Why did you get involved in the IPVF programme?
S.J and A.D: Today, photovoltaics is emerging as a major energy transition technology. At the same time, the combination of other renewable energy sources is possible and desirable. Through this programme we are therefore committed to finding the best opportunities for solar technology.
We see this programme as a concrete contribution to the implementation of new technologies that will improve energy performance. It is through a joint effort that we will achieve this.
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