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Issue 1, 2012
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Solar cells with one-day energy payback for the factories of the future

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Abstract

Scalability is a requirement before any new energy source can be expected to house a possible solution to the challenge that mankind’s increasing energy demand presents. No renewable energy source is as abundant as the Sun and yet efficient and low-cost conversion of solar energy still has not been developed. We approach the challenge by firstly taking a technology that efficiently addresses the need for daily production of 1 GWp on a global level, which does not employ elements with critically low abundance and has a low thermal budget. We then applied life cycle assessment methodologies to direct research and developed such technology in the form of a polymer solar cell that presents a significant improvement in energy payback time (EPBT) and found that very short energy payback times on the order of one day are possible, thus potentially presenting a solution to the current energy gap of >14 TW by year 2050.

Graphical abstract: Solar cells with one-day energy payback for the factories of the future

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Article information


Submitted
22 Sep 2011
Accepted
25 Oct 2011
First published
02 Dec 2011

Energy Environ. Sci., 2012,5, 5117-5132
Article type
Analysis

Solar cells with one-day energy payback for the factories of the future

N. Espinosa, M. Hösel, D. Angmo and F. C. Krebs, Energy Environ. Sci., 2012, 5, 5117
DOI: 10.1039/C1EE02728J

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