Australian engineers have created a new type of solar cells that is ultra-effective. This makes the earth a huge step closer to a future with sustainable energy in one fell swoop.
A research team from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, delivered a performance that was only expected in 35 years.
They have made a completely new type of solar cells that converts unconcentrated sunlight into electricity more efficiently than many people would have dreamed.
The team broke the efficiency record by increasing the current maximum return from 24 percent to 34.5 percent.
Solar cells exceed wildest expectations
Unconcentrated sunlight is extracted directly from the sun, without concentrating the light waves with mirrors. Solar cells on the roof of a house, for example, use unconcentrated sunlight.
The international goal for generating profitable energy with solar cells in this way has been set at a yield of 35 percent. This number comes from the case of Agora Energiewende, a German energy think tank.
When the target was set, the Germans thought optimistically that it could be achieved around 2050. But the Australians have put a stop to that plan - in a positive sense.
New solar cells are smaller and more efficient
The researchers from Sydney have not only come extremely close to the desired return.
Their new solar cells are also much smaller, so that more energy can be produced on the same surface.
The former efficiency record was achieved with solar cells with an area of 800 square centimeters. The new Australian photovoltaic solar cells deliver 34.5 percent on just 28 square centimeters.