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Photovoltaic development saves on rare metals.

ISIS INNOVATION, the University of Oxford's technology transfer firm, has developed an inorganic thin film photovoltaic system it claims offers stable, low-cost solar generation without using rare metal elements.

The work is the subject of a patent application and Isis is keen to talk to companies interested in the commercial scale-up of the technology.

Cheap solar technologies that are mass produced easily would have a key role in meeting the energy challenge.

But the high cost associated with silicon limits the penetration of the technology into energy markets.

Second-generation inorganic thin film and third-generation organic photovoltaics offer the prospect of cheaper solar cells that can be easily mass produced.

A number of thin film inorganic systems have been commercially deployed. The most notable, copper indium gallium diselenide and cadmium tellurium devices, both rely on rare elements and contain highly toxic materials.

Isis Innovation researchers claim to have developed a second-generation thin film inorganic solar cell system that performs in the visible spectrum of light and is not composed of finite rare earth and/or toxic materials.

It said the system had the potential to be low cost per watt compared to existing solar energy technologies and had good photochemical stability relative to other low-cost organic systems.

Other advantages included compatibility with existing industrial coating methods and aesthetic advantages such as transparency and colouring.

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Title Annotation:TECHNOLOGY
Publication:Professional Engineering Magazine
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Jul 29, 2009
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