The technology used is based on a mineral called perovskite
Photovoltaic cells made of perovskite are lightweight, flexible and can be easily incorporated into a smartphone. SAULE Technologies is aiming to commercialize them soon. Their first prototype, which was presented last March at the International Conference on Perovskite Thin Film Photovoltaics (ABXPV) in Barcelona, provides enough power to charge up a phone battery through exposure to even artificial light sources. Perovskites are great light absorbers and thus ultra-thin layers of them can suffice for the job at hand, reducing the consumption of materials needed to produce a cell at least three times. Perovskites are also cheaper, thinner and more flexible than silicon.
Olga Malinkiewicz, SAULE Technologies co-founder and CTO, recipient of the European Commission award Photonics21, and MIT Technology Review’s Innovator of the Year said: "This is a special moment for all our team. We have reached that phase when we can finally show the results of our work. The prototype presented today - small, flexible, perovskite module - is just the beginning. With subsidies we have received from the National Centre for Research and Development (NCBR) and contribution made by a Japanese investor, we can now boost the efficiency of the module and further refine the technology in our own, well-equipped lab.” Malinkiewicz gives a technical glimpse into these future developments: “The challenge now is to integrate each, separate process into one production line. For that we use ink-jet printing as it is a rather straightforward way to do it.”
The next step: Perovskite on buildings
Solar cells made of perovskite are still less efficient than those of crystalline silicon, CdTe and CIGS, but can be used in buildings without affecting their architecture. For example, they can be attached to glass panels transforming them into photovoltaic ones, while sacrificing very little transparency. It will also be possible to cover roof tiles with perovskite cells, converting an entire roof into a huge photovoltaic panel, or even the entire facades of modern buildings, so that the walls could generate electricity as well. Saule Technologies is currently working on all these applications.