Graphene solar panels can be more efficient and can be manufactured in a two-dimensional (2D) format. Developed by scientists from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, in collaboration with researchers from the Hellenic University of the Mediterranean, Greece, this new technology was installed on the island of Crete and interconnected, forming the first solar power plant using solar panels. graphene solar. .
Graphene panels are known as perovskite and generate power only in controlled laboratory settings. According to the study’s lead author, engineering professor Francesco Bonaccorso, the scientists’ work is the result of approximately 5 years of research aimed at expanding the scale of use of graphene solar panels, beginning with laboratory-generated cells, panels a little bigger and, finally, a structure that is viable to be installed in a solar energy farm.
The autonomous solar plant has an area of ??just 4.5 m² and an efficiency of 12.5%. The first study by scientists on the project was published in 2016, where each of the panels had 40 0.5m² graphene cells connected to each other.
According to Professor of Materials Engineering Aldo Di Carlo, after his first publication on small-area cells, the feasibility of this technology in larger-area devices was developed. The intention has always been to demonstrate the viability of integration between solar energy panels, considerably expanding the sector in charge of capturing.
Green hydrogen production
In addition to generating electricity, the perovskite panels were the basis of another major sustainability study. Researchers at the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have developed a way to cleanly generate hydrogen from graphene compounds.
The technique used by the researchers is known as Solar Thermochemical Hydrogen (STCH). The technology is widely used in ammonia production and is a clean production process based on the electrolysis method.
According to the lead author of the study, Zhi Wen Ma, this is a challenging field, with several research questions still unanswered, especially in the perspective of using promising materials like this one.