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CdTe is growing rapidly in acceptance and now represents the second most utilized solar cell material in the world. The first is still silicon.
Solar panels based on CdTe are the first and only thin film photovoltaic technology to surpass crystalline silicon PV in cheapness for a significant portion of the PV market, namely in multi-kilowatt systems. History Research in Cadmium telluride dates back to the 's because it is almost perfectly matched to the distribution of photons in the solar spectrum in terms of optimal conversion to electricity.
A similar efficiency and fate eventually occurred at BP Solar, which dropped the technology in the early s. Cell efficiency Best cell efficiency has plateaued at The opportunity to increase current has been almost fully exploited, but more difficult challenges associated with junction quality, with properties of CdTe and with contacting have not been as successful.
Improved doping of CdTe and increased understanding of key processing steps e. Low Cost Manufacturing The major advantage of this technology is that the panels can manufactured at lower costs than silicon based solar panels.
The necessary electric field, which makes turning solar energy into electricity possible, stems from properties of two types of cadmium molecules, cadmium sulfide and cadmium telluride.
This means a simple mixture of molecules achieves the required properties, simplifying manufacturing compared to the multi-step process of joining two different types of doped silicon in a silicon solar panel.
Good match with sunlight: Cadmium telluride absorbs sunlight at close to the ideal wavelength, capturing energy at shorter wavelengths than is possible with silicon panels 3. Cadmium is abundant, produced as a by-product of other important industrial metals such as zinc, consequently it has not had the wider price swings that have happened in the past two years with silicon prices.
Cadmium telluride drawbacks While price is a major advantage, there are some drawbacks to this type of solar panels, namely: Cadmium telluride solar panels currently achieve an efficiency of While Cadmium is relatively abundant, Tellurium is not. Tellurium Te is an extremely rare element parts per billion in the Earth's crust.
According to USGS, global tellurium production in was metric tons. Most of it comes as a by-product of copper, with smaller byproduct amounts from lead and gold. One gigawatt GW of CdTe PV modules would require about 93 metric tons at current efficiencies and thicknessesso the availability of tellurium will eventually limited how many panels can be produced with this material.
Recently, researchers have added an unusual twist — astrophysicists identify tellurium as the most abundant element in the universe with an atomic number over Researchers have shown that well-known undersea ridges which are now being evaluated for their economic recoverability are rich in tellurium and by themselves could supply more tellurium than we could ever use for all of our global energy.
It is not yet known whether this undersea tellurium is recoverable, nor whether there is much more tellurium elsewhere that can be recovered.
However, as I was doing research for this article I found more than one article in mining publications that suggested that the capacity for manufacturing thin-film photovoltaic solar cells from cadmium telluride is very close to the maximum supply of tellurium available, or that may become available and that the ability of companies like First Solar to continue to expand at the rates they have been growing at over the past several years will become increasingly difficult to maintain because of lack of available tellurium even with recovery from recyclying.
Toxicity of Cadmium Cadmium is one of the top 6 deadliest and toxic materials known. However, CdTe appears to be less toxic than elemental cadmium, at least in terms of acute exposure.
This is not to say it is harmless. Cadmium telluride is toxic if ingested, if its dust is inhaled, or if it is handled improperly i. The toxicity is not solely due to the cadmium content. One study found that the highly reactive surface of cadmium telluride quantum dots triggers extensive reactive oxygen damage to the cell membrane, mitochondria, and cell nucleus.
In addition, the cadmium telluride films are typically recrystallized in a toxic compound of cadmium chloride. The disposal and long term safety of cadmium telluride is a known issue in the large-scale commercialization of cadmium telluride solar panels.
Serious efforts have been made to understand and overcome these issues. Researchers from the U. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have found that large-scale use of CdTe PV modules does not present any risks to health and the environment, and recycling the modules at the end of their useful life resolves any environmental concerns.
During their operation, these modules do not produce any pollutants, and furthermore, by displacing fossil fuels, they offer great environmental benefits. CdTe PV modules appear to be more environmentally friendly than all other current uses of Cd.Jun 30, · The functions of mass communication may be steeped in traditional theory, applied to new media they take on new meaning.
While nanotechnology is seen as the way of the future and is a technology that a lot of people think will bring a lot of benefit for all who will be using it, nothing is ever perfect and there will always be pros and cons to everything.
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Just like any other new trend, virtual team also has to undergo strict scrutiny of researchers to weigh its advantages and disadvantages before being accepted by the professionals. Recumbent Bikes: By John Andersen.
You’ve probably seen them, those odd shaped bicycles having more in common with lawn furniture than typical bicycles. While nanotechnology is seen as the way of the future and is a technology that a lot of people think will bring a lot of benefit for all who will be using it, nothing is ever perfect and there will always be pros and cons to everything.
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