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Home News Power Sector News Physics dept of University of Pune working on cheaper solar cell

Physics dept of University of Pune working on cheaper solar cell

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Physics dept of University of PuneWhile solar energy is renewable and eco-friendly, it is also an expensive affair. Now, it’s all going to change, as, in a first-of-its-kind technology in solar energy in India, the department of physics, University of Pune, has developed a nano-crystalline silicon solar cell which promises to be at least five times less expensive than its current cost.The department is carrying out the project in collaboration with an Italian university and is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Currently, a thin film is used in the solar silicon cell, and the project aims at replacing the film with nano crystalline material which will reduce the cost to less than $1 from the present $5 to $6. As part of the joint collaboration, the fabrication work will be done in the department laboratory while the testing will be carried out at the University of Camerino (UoC), Italy.

Titled ‘Synthesis and characterization of hydrogenated nano-crystalline silicon for solar cell fabrication’, the project has been selected in the framework of the Indo-Italian programme of scientific and technological cooperation for 2008-2010 by the DST. This is also the first-of-its-kind effort in India, while the US is in the process of developing similar system for generation of solar energy.

Speaking to TOI, Sandesh Jadkar, principal investigator, said, “Solar energy, right now, is expensive and the main objectives of this project is to reduce cost. Once the project is successfully implemented, it can be scaled up and the results will be really great.”

The department has currently set up a system called ‘hot-wire chemical vapor deposition’ in its laboratory to fabricate the nano silicon material. This system is completely automated and is computer-operated. The solar cells will be fabricated here while the characterisation and testing of these cells will take place in Italy. The characterisation techniques are essential to test efficiency and property of these cells.

“Italy has some really sophisticated laboratory for testing and the university has been doing some groundbreaking work in solar energy. Hence, we worked out the project in this fashion so that the best of the both countries can be inculcated in the product,” Jadkar, who received a research fellowship to work in Italy by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) in 2007, said.

It was this time when DST floated the Indo-Italian scheme when Jadkar applied for this project and it soon got sanction.

Jadkar will be accompanied by Suresh Gosavi and S V Ghaisas, also professors at the UoP, as Indian co-principal investigators. “The immediate application of the project is not possible because there is no technology available at present to fully utilise the potential of nano material for solar cell purpose. This is another aspects we are considering,” Ghaisas said.

Source - Times of India

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