Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Durban University of Technology

2 Durban University Technology

10.22044/rera.2023.13365.1233

Abstract

This research provides concise insights into fossil fuel consumption challenges, and the factors contributing to global warming, and evaluates the significance of photovoltaic (PV) materials in achieving net-zero-CO2 emissions. The article categorizes constraints in the development of PV cells into four main areas: technical factors, leadership impact, political instability, and financial aspects. Primarily, the study delves into technical factors, focusing on the power conversion efficiency (PCE) and power density of PV cells. Theoretically, approximately 67% of solar energy is dissipated in various forms - 47% as heat, 18% as photons, and 2% in local combination loss. Commercially available mono-crystalline silicon (c-Si) and poly-crystalline silicon (poly-c-Si) PV cells typically demonstrate a range of PCEs between 15% to 22% and 13% to 18%, respectively, presenting an efficiency considerably lower than the potential maximum of 100%. The study highlights organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) as promising third-generation PV modules due to their relatively high power conversion efficiency (HPCE) and eco-friendly attributes. However, their commercial feasibility is under scrutiny owing to constraints such as a limited lifespan, high production costs, and challenges in mass production. Ongoing research and development (R&D) in PV cell technologies aim to enhance PCE and power density, establish cost-effective production methods, and create more reliable and sustainable supply chains. Additionally, the study explores the role of nanotechnology in developing high-power conversion efficiency cells, identifies research gaps and priorities in engineered organic material PV cells, and discusses the potential of OPVs in the R&D of high-efficiency, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly PV cells.

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