Matching Items (18)

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Optimization of Front Contact Design on Nickel-Plated Si Solar Cells

Description

As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels

As global population and demand for electrical power increase, humanity is faced with the growing challenge of harnessing and distributing enough energy to sustain the developing world. Currently, fossil fuels (coal
atural gas) are our main sources of electricity. However, their cost is increasing, they are nonrenewable, and they are very harmful to the environment. Thus, capacity expansion in the renewable energy sector must be realized to offset higher energy demand and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Solar energy represents a practical solution, as installed global solar capacity has been increasing exponentially over the past 2 decades. However, even with government incentives, solar energy price ($/kWh) continues to be highly dependent on political climate and raw material (silicon and silver) cost. To realistically and cost effectively meet the projected expansions within the solar industry, silver must be replaced with less costly and more abundant metals (such as copper) in the front-grid metallization process of photovoltaic cells. Copper, while offering both higher achievable efficiencies and a raw material cost nearly 100 times cheaper than silver, has inherent disadvantages. Specifically, copper diffuses rapidly into the silicon substrate, requires more complex and error-prone processing steps, and tends to have less adhesive strength, reducing panel robustness. In this study, nickel deposition via sputtering was analyzed, as well as overall potential of nickel as a seed layer for copper plating, which also provides a barrier layer to copper diffusion in silicon. Thermally-formed nickel silicide also reduces contact resistivity, increasing cell efficiency. It was found that at 400 \u00B0C, ideal nickel silicide formation occurred. By computer modeling, contact resistivity was found to have a significant impact on cell efficiency (up to 1.8%). Finally, sputtering proved useful to analyze nickel silicide formation, but costs and time requirements prevent it from being a practical industrial-scale metallization method.

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Date Created
  • 2017-05

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Waste Management and Equipment Design of Recycling Solar Cells

Description

In Professor Meng Tao and Wen-His Huang's paper's [1,2] the recycling process to create a sustainable Photovoltaic (PV) industry is laid out. The process utilized to recycle the materials requires

In Professor Meng Tao and Wen-His Huang's paper's [1,2] the recycling process to create a sustainable Photovoltaic (PV) industry is laid out. The process utilized to recycle the materials requires the use of three semi-problematic chemicals including: Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH), Nitric Acid (HNO3), and Hydrofluoric Acid (HF). By utilizing a combination of reverse osmosis filtration, pre-lime treatment, neutralization by combination, and mineral specific filtering the chemicals can either by recycled as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standardized waste water or profitable byproducts such as Sodium Nitrate (NaNO3). For the recycling of hydrofluoric acid, a combination of pre-lime coagulation, microfiltration and a spiral wound reverse osmosis (RO) system, less than 1mg/L in line with national standards for human consumption. The sodium hydroxide and nitric acid recycling process handles more contaminants that just the byproduct of the chemicals and manages this through a combination of multi-stage flash/vapor distillation along with a reverse osmosis filtration system. By utilizing both systems of recycling, a completely closed loop system for recycling silicon solar cells is laid out and creates a new standard for clean energy management.

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Date Created
  • 2016-12

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26+ year old photovoltaic power plant: degradation and reliability evaluation of crystalline silicon modules - north array

Description

The object of this study was a 26 year old residential Photovoltaic (PV) monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) power plant, called Solar One, built by developer John F. Long in Phoenix, Arizona

The object of this study was a 26 year old residential Photovoltaic (PV) monocrystalline silicon (c-Si) power plant, called Solar One, built by developer John F. Long in Phoenix, Arizona (a hot-dry field condition). The task for Arizona State University Photovoltaic Reliability Laboratory (ASU-PRL) graduate students was to evaluate the power plant through visual inspection, electrical performance, and infrared thermography. The purpose of this evaluation was to measure and understand the extent of degradation to the system along with the identification of the failure modes in this hot-dry climatic condition. This 4000 module bipolar system was originally installed with a 200 kW DC output of PV array (17 degree fixed tilt) and an AC output of 175 kVA. The system was shown to degrade approximately at a rate of 2.3% per year with no apparent potential induced degradation (PID) effect. The power plant is made of two arrays, the north array and the south array. Due to a limited time frame to execute this large project, this work was performed by two masters students (Jonathan Belmont and Kolapo Olakonu) and the test results are presented in two masters theses. This thesis presents the results obtained on the north array and the other thesis presents the results obtained on the south array. The resulting study showed that PV module design, array configuration, vandalism, installation methods and Arizona environmental conditions have had an effect on this system's longevity and reliability. Ultimately, encapsulation browning, higher series resistance (potentially due to solder bond fatigue) and non-cell interconnect ribbon breakages outside the modules were determined to be the primary causes for the power loss.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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Front grid metallization of silicon solar cells

Description

In order to ensure higher penetration of photovoltaics in the energy market and have an immediate impact in addressing the challenges of energy crisis and climate change, this thesis research

In order to ensure higher penetration of photovoltaics in the energy market and have an immediate impact in addressing the challenges of energy crisis and climate change, this thesis research focusses on improving the efficiency of the diffused junction silicon solar cells of an already existing line with established processes. Thus, the baseline processes are first made stable and demonstrated as a pilot line at the Solar Power Lab at ASU, to be used as a backbone on which further improvements could be made. Of the several factors that affect the solar cell efficiency, improvement of short circuit current by reduction of the shading losses is chosen to achieve the improvement.

The shading losses are reduced by lowering the finger width of the solar cell .This reduction of the front metal coverage causes an increase in the series resistance, thereby adversely affecting the fill factor and hence efficiency. To overcome this problem, double printing method is explored to be used for front grid metallization. Before its implementation, it is important to accurately understand the effect of reducing the finger width on the series resistance. Hence, series resistance models are modified from the existing generic model and developed to capture the effects of screen-printing. To have minimum power loss in the solar cell, finger spacing is optimized for the front grid design with each of the finger widths chosen, which are narrower than the baseline finger width. A commercial software package called Griddler is used to predict the results of the model developed to capture effects of screen-printing.

The process for double printing with accurate alignment for finger width down to 50um is developed. After designing the screens for optimized front grid, solar cells are fabricated using both single printing and double printing methods and an improvement of efficiency from 17.2% to 17.8%, with peak efficiency of 18% is demonstrated.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015

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Light trapping in monocrystalline silicon solar cells using random upright pyramids

Description

Crystalline silicon has a relatively low absorption coefficient, and therefore, in thin silicon solar cells surface texturization plays a vital role in enhancing light absorption. Texturization is needed to increase

Crystalline silicon has a relatively low absorption coefficient, and therefore, in thin silicon solar cells surface texturization plays a vital role in enhancing light absorption. Texturization is needed to increase the path length of light through the active absorbing layer. The most popular choice for surface texturization of crystalline silicon is the anisotropic wet-etching that yields pyramid-like structures. These structures have shown to be both simple to fabricate and efficient in increasing the path length; they outperform most competing surface texture. Recent studies have also shown these pyramid-like structures are not truly square-based 54.7 degree pyramids but have variable base angles and shapes. In addition, their distribution is not regular -- as is often assumed in optical models -- but random. For accurate prediction of performance of silicon solar cells, it is important to investigate the true nature of the surface texture that is achieved using anisotropic wet-etching, and its impact on light trapping. We have used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to characterize the surface topology by obtaining actual height maps that serve as input to ray tracing software. The height map also yields the base angle distribution, which is compared to the base angle distribution obtained by analyzing the angular reflectance distribution measured by spectrophotometer to validate the shape of the structures. Further validation of the measured AFM maps is done by performing pyramid density comparison with SEM micrograph of the texture. Last method employed for validation is Focused Ion Beam (FIB) that is used to mill the long section of pyramids to reveal their profile and so from that the base angle distribution is measured. After that the measured map is modified and the maps are generated keeping the positional randomness (the positions of pyramids) and height of the pyramids the same, but changing their base angles. In the end a ray tracing software is used to compare the actual measured AFM map and also the modified maps using their reflectance, transmittance, angular scattering and most importantly path length enhancement, absorbance and short circuit current with lambertian scatterer.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Development of deformable electronics using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based fabrication technologies

Description

This dissertation presents my work on development of deformable electronics using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based fabrication technologies. In recent years, deformable electronics are coming to revolutionize the functionality of microelectronics

This dissertation presents my work on development of deformable electronics using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) based fabrication technologies. In recent years, deformable electronics are coming to revolutionize the functionality of microelectronics seamlessly with their application environment, ranging from various consumer electronics to bio-medical applications. Many researchers have studied this area, and a wide variety of devices have been fabricated. One traditional way is to directly fabricate electronic devices on flexible substrate through low-temperature processes. These devices suffered from constrained functionality due to the temperature limit. Another transfer printing approach has been developed recently. The general idea is to fabricate functional devices on hard and planar substrates using standard processes then transferred by elastomeric stamps and printed on desired flexible and stretchable substrates. The main disadvantages are that the transfer printing step may limit the yield. The third method is "flexible skins" which silicon substrates are thinned down and structured into islands and sandwiched by two layers of polymer. The main advantage of this method is post CMOS compatible. Based on this technology, we successfully fabricated a 3-D flexible thermal sensor for intravascular flow monitoring. The final product of the 3-D sensor has three independent sensing elements equally distributed around the wall of catheter (1.2 mm in diameter) with 120° spacing. This structure introduces three independent information channels, and cross-comparisons among all readings were utilized to eliminate experimental error and provide better measurement results. The novel fabrication and assembly technology can also be applied to other catheter based biomedical devices. A step forward inspired by the ancient art of folding, origami, which creating three-dimensional (3-D) structures from two-dimensional (2-D) sheets through a high degree of folding along the creases. Based on this idea, we developed a novel method to enable better deformability. One example is origami-enabled silicon solar cells. The solar panel can reach up to 644% areal compactness while maintain reasonable good performance (less than 30% output power density drop) upon 40 times cyclic folding/unfolding. This approach can be readily applied to other functional devices, ranging from sensors, displays, antenna, to energy storage devices.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Development of silver-free silicon photovoltaic solar cells with all-aluminum electrodes

Description

To date, the most popular and dominant material for commercial solar cells is

crystalline silicon (or wafer-Si). It has the highest cell efficiency and cell lifetime out

of all commercial solar cells.

To date, the most popular and dominant material for commercial solar cells is

crystalline silicon (or wafer-Si). It has the highest cell efficiency and cell lifetime out

of all commercial solar cells. Although the potential of crystalline-Si solar cells in

supplying energy demands is enormous, their future growth will likely be constrained

by two major bottlenecks. The first is the high electricity input to produce

crystalline-Si solar cells and modules, and the second is the limited supply of silver

(Ag) reserves. These bottlenecks prevent crystalline-Si solar cells from reaching

terawatt-scale deployment, which means the electricity produced by crystalline-Si

solar cells would never fulfill a noticeable portion of our energy demands in the future.

In order to solve the issue of Ag limitation for the front metal grid, aluminum (Al)

electroplating has been developed as an alternative metallization technique in the

fabrication of crystalline-Si solar cells. The plating is carried out in a

near-room-temperature ionic liquid by means of galvanostatic electrolysis. It has been

found that dense, adherent Al deposits with resistivity in the high 10^–6 ohm-cm range

can be reproducibly obtained directly on Si substrates and nickel seed layers. An

all-Al Si solar cell, with an electroplated Al front electrode and a screen-printed Al

back electrode, has been successfully demonstrated based on commercial p-type

monocrystalline-Si solar cells, and its efficiency is approaching 15%. Further

optimization of the cell fabrication process, in particular a suitable patterning

technique for the front silicon nitride layer, is expected to increase the efficiency of

the cell to ~18%. This shows the potential of Al electroplating in cell metallization is

promising and replacing Ag with Al as the front finger electrode is feasible.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Quantifying carrier selective contacts in solar cells

Description

A basic theory and terminology that comprehensively applies to all different types

of contacts in silicon solar cells has, thus far, been elusive. While the well established diode model has been

A basic theory and terminology that comprehensively applies to all different types

of contacts in silicon solar cells has, thus far, been elusive. While the well established diode model has been applied to many of the complex contacts, the theory is not adequate to intuitively describe the characteristics of novel contacts. This thesis shows that the many desirable characteristics of contacts that are discussed in the literature—carrier selectivity, passivation, and low majority carrier conductance, key among them—originate from the resistance to electrons and holes in the contact. These principles are applied to describe a few popular contact technologies in order to pave the path to envisioning novel contacts. Metrics for contact performance is introduced to quantify each of the above characteristics using the two carrier resistances. The the validity of the proposed metrics is explored using extensive PC-1D simulations.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon using hydrogen sulfide as a sulfur source

Description

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been identified as a potential ingredient for grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon. Sulfur is already established as a good surface passivation material for crystalline silicon

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been identified as a potential ingredient for grain boundary passivation of multicrystalline silicon. Sulfur is already established as a good surface passivation material for crystalline silicon (c-Si). Sulfur can be used both from solution and hydrogen sulfide gas. For multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) solar cells, increasing efficiency is a major challenge because passivation of mc-Si wafers is more difficult due to its randomly orientated crystal grains and the principal source of recombination is contributed by the defects in the bulk of the wafer and surface.

In this work, a new technique for grain boundary passivation for multicrystalline silicon using hydrogen sulfide has been developed which is accompanied by a compatible Aluminum oxide (Al2O3) surface passivation. Minority carrier lifetime measurement of the passivated samples has been performed and the analysis shows that success has been achieved in terms of passivation and compared to already existing hydrogen passivation, hydrogen sulfide passivation is actually better. Also the surface passivation by Al2O3 helps to increase the lifetime even more after post-annealing and this helps to attain stability for the bulk passivated samples. Minority carrier lifetime is directly related to the internal quantum efficiency of solar cells. Incorporation of this technique in making mc-Si solar cells is supposed to result in higher efficiency cells. Additional research is required in this field for the use of this technique in commercial solar cells.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014

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Multiscale modeling of silicon heterojunction solar cells

Description

Silicon photonic technology continues to dominate the solar industry driven by steady improvement in device and module efficiencies. Currently, the world record conversion efficiency (~26.6%) for single junction silicon solar

Silicon photonic technology continues to dominate the solar industry driven by steady improvement in device and module efficiencies. Currently, the world record conversion efficiency (~26.6%) for single junction silicon solar cell technologies is held by silicon heterojunction (SHJ) solar cells based on hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) and crystalline silicon (c-Si). These solar cells utilize the concept of carrier selective contacts to improve device efficiencies. A carrier selective contact is designed to optimize the collection of majority carriers while blocking the collection of minority carriers. In the case of SHJ cells, a thin intrinsic a-Si:H layer provides crucial passivation between doped a-Si:H and the c-Si absorber that is required to create a high efficiency cell. There has been much debate regarding the role of the intrinsic a-Si:H passivation layer on the transport of photogenerated carriers, and its role in optimizing device performance. In this work, a multiscale model is presented which utilizes different simulation methodologies to study interfacial transport across the intrinsic a-Si:H/c-Si heterointerface and through the a-Si:H passivation layer. In particular, an ensemble Monte Carlo simulator was developed to study high field behavior of photogenerated carriers at the intrinsic a-Si:H/c-Si heterointerface, a kinetic Monte Carlo program was used to study transport of photogenerated carriers across the intrinsic a-Si:H passivation layer, and a drift-diffusion model was developed to model the behavior in the quasi-neutral regions of the solar cell. This work reports de-coupled and self-consistent simulations to fully understand the role and effect of transport across the a-Si:H passivation layer in silicon heterojunction solar cells, and relates this to overall solar cell device performance.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019