Enel Green Power is taking part in the EU-backed GRAPES project to research new applications for a very versatile material called graphene which boosts the efficiency of solar cells. The alliance between academic and industrial research is fundamental to accelerating the energy transition. This is why we are taking part in international projects focused on finding increasingly efficient technological solutions that will exploit renewable sources. One example is the Core 3 Spearhead Project Grapes, a European Union initiative that is part of the Graphene Flagship, a major project researching the use of graphene in which the EU is investing a billion euro.
Graphene, which comprises a single layer of carbon atoms, is a very versatile material with applications in a wide variety of fields such electronics, sensors, aeronautics and, of course, photovoltaics. The research group led by Foti is working specifically on using graphene, which has the same theoretical strength as a diamond and the flexibility of plastic, to integrate silicone and perovskite cells.
The technology required to exceed these limits is a tandem or multi-junction cell in which two cells are overlapped with each one converting a different part of the solar spectrum into energy. The silicone cell converts the red end of the light spectrum into energy while the perovskite absorbs the blue and green part, thereby boosting efficiency.
Graphene can optimize performances and reduce costs: indeed, researchers are attempting to use it to replace all or part of the more expensive silver used in conductive adhesive. According to some studies, placing a layer of graphene between the silicone and perovskite cells may be the ideal way to produce a significant improvement in efficiency and reliability.