High-Efficiency Photovoltaic Devices could Boost for Energy Efficiency
Discipline of Research
This research focuses on energy efficiency. Indeed, in the face of global warming and climate change, there are many ongoing research studies on how to best achieve the dream for more rewarding energy efficiency. This study narrows down to potential solutions within the mechanical engineering field. Particularly, this paper focuses on one of the technologies under development at the moment; that is, the production of cheaper solar cells, which would translate to cheaper solar panels.
While gallium arsenide (among the most currently used to make solar cells) holds the record for photovoltaic efficiency, they are highly expensive to produce. This translates to high costs of solar panels. However, the Precourt Institute for Energy, the Precourt Energy Efficiency and Tomkat Center for Sustainable Energy are funding, among other projects, a new project to develop a novel technique that would produce cheaper high-efficiency photovoltaic devices. This project considers a novel technique that uses laser lift-off to produce low-cost, single-crystal gallium arsenide films for photovoltaic applications.
- What gaps are there in the pursuit for energy efficiency?
- What are the limitations of solar cells made of gallium arsenide (as the current record-holder for photovoltaic efficiency) in the search for energy efficiency?
- How would this novel laser lift-off technique address these limitations?
The first question is general. It looks at the current efforts in the search for better and more efficient energy sustainability with the objective of citing the many gaps that still need to be addressed.
Question two focuses on the use of gallium arsenide to make solar cells. The objective here is to cite its limitations, especially the technological and cost-related issues. This is as an opening statement for the key focus of this paper (question 3).
Question three gets to the center of theme of this paper. It builds on questions one and two, examining the specific ways in which this potentially new technology (if it ever comes to fruition) could address some of the issues raised in question 1 and 2.
Rationale for Choosing the Field
Although projections show that fossil fuel is still likely to be the key energy sources for the foreseeable future (more than five decades), the urgency that accompanies global warming and climate change means that we need to find solutions as fast as possible. While invention of alternative energy sources is good and encouraged, improving on the already discovered alternative energy sources is the key to finding a solution as soon as possible. This technology focuses on improving on solar energy, which a major part of finding an answer to the energy sustainability question.
Possible Interview Sources
Part of the search for information on this project and its possible implications, this project will involve interviewing key persons with vital information on the project, both the technology and the project’s implementation process. The two key interview sources will be Sally Benson and Bruce Clemens.
Sally Benson is both the director of Precourt Institute and the professor of energy resources engineering. In other words, she is not just involved administratively, but also technologically. Most importantly, she is at the very center of the project.
Another figure privy to the particulars of the project is Bruce Clemens, who is the project’s principal investigator, materials science and engineering.
These are two directly involved in the project and can provide vital information for this project. They will be reached through email to arrange an interview. The interview will then be conducted via Skype.