Solar cells with one-day energy payback for the factories of the future

Nieves Espinosa Martinez, Markus Hösel, Dechan Angmo, Frederik C Krebs

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Scalability is a requirement before any new energy source can be expected to house a possible solution to the challenge that mankind’s increasing energy demand presents. No renewable energy source is as abundant as the Sun and yet efficient and low-cost conversion of solar energy still has not been developed. We approach the challenge by firstly taking a technology that efficiently addresses the need for daily production of 1 GWp on a global level, which does not employ elements with critically low abundance and has a low thermal budget.Wethen applied life cycle assessment methodologies to direct research and developed such technology in the form of a polymer solar cell that presents a significant improvement in energy payback time (EPBT) and found that very short energy payback times on the order of one day are possible, thus potentially presenting a solution to the current energy gap of >14 TW by year 2050.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalEnergy & Environmental Science
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)5117-5132
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Bibliographical note

    This work has been supported by the Danish Strategic Research
    Council (2104-07-0022) and EUDP ( 64009-0050); also by
    the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (Consolider-
    HOPE CSD2007-00007), and by Comunidad Autonoma de la
    Region de Murcia (CARM-D429-2008). Partial financial
    support was also received from the European Commission as
    part of the Framework 7 ICT 2009 collaborative project
    HIFLEX (grant no. 248678) from the EUIndian framework of
    the ‘‘Largecells’’ project that received funding from the European
    Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–
    2013. grant no. 261936) and from PVERA-NET (project
    acronym POLYSTAR).


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