The team at Macquarie
During the fabrication of solar panels, silicon goes through several high-temperature processes known as annealing. Currently the cells are cooked in an oven.
But in a paper published in the US Journal Applied Physics Letters this month, a team led by senior lecturer Dr Binesh Puthen Veettil of the School of Engineering at Macquarie University, and in collaboration with ACAP at UNSW, has shown that heating using microwave radiation is nearly as efficient. Plus, it saves considerable time and energy and has other advantages.
The most significant additional advantage is that the cells produced in this way are easier to recycle, a breakthrough that bring solar even closer to a closed-loop, sustainable lifecycle.
Dr Veettil’s research in collaboration with the School of Photovoltaics at UNSW, was initiated with funding from the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics and has been further supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.