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Cdte solar cells thesis writing

Apr 11, 2018


Current trends and application assignment 2: Cadmium telluride and thin film solar modules
Ethical considerations
One of the ethical issues related to the CdTe production of thin film solar panels is that the materials used are expensive and the raw materials are rare. Thus, there is the ethical issue of whether manufacturers simply want get huge profits without considering the impact on the environment. Even though, CdTe is cheaper than silicon and most photovoltaic materials, the level of toxicity is a matter of concern because of potential negative effect on people. Cadmium is a heavy metal and exposure to the chemical may cause respiratory problems. Even though CdTe is less toxic that cadmium it can have a negative impact on people if undigested or inhaled and in most cases this occurs because of acute exposure. Exposure mostly occurs when solar panels and modules are damaged. There is also a need to look into whether mass production is the best option available, this would reduce the cost of production and make solar panels and module more economical.
Another issue with CdTe thin film solar panels is how to deal with recycling and improving the efficiency of the technology. Towards the end of life of the solar panels there is little that can be recycled, and hence the technology simply adds to waste. Even though, cadmium is a waste product that occurs during zinc mining, disposal of the material after its use is less clear. Thus, there needs to be more guidelines on how to deal with disposal of the solar modules. The companies manufacturing the solar panels may have voluntary take back initiatives of the panels after use to ensure recycling. Nonetheless, there are no legislations compelling consumers to return such solar modules to the manufacturers and hence there will be continued exposure to cadmium especially for broken solar panels.
Short and long-term medical concerns
There is no one way through which to analyze the level of exposure to CdTe, and there is little information for employee exposure during manufacture of PV cells. Nonetheless, exposure to the chemical is typically assessed through the total level of cadmium in the body. There are standards that ensure there is monitoring given the concerns of centimes exposure to the chemical. Thus, engineering controls and tests to ensure that the admissible levels are not exceeded is necessary. Arising out of the need to maintain control is that there are short term and long term effects on human health. Contact through inhalation or eye and skin contact are the most likely ways through which people come into contact with the compound. The most common short term impacts are irritation of the eyes, skin and irritation of the mucous membrane for acute exposure.
Inhalation and long term exposure to CdTe may result to lung cancer and cancer related complications. Similarly, there maybe damage to lungs and kidneys while long term...

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Underwood, M.L.


Williams, R.M.


Ryan, M.A.



January 1993 - AIP Conference Proceedings (American Institute of Physics); (United States)

hours at the time of this writing. The cell required a maturation period of 355 hours at high temperature. During this period, the cell was operated once at 12% efficiency but was generally operated at lower powers. The maturation period ended with the formation of a reflective sodium film on the condenser surface which reduced the parasitic thermal losses in the cell. After maturation, the cell demonstrated the first experimental demonstration of the maximum efficiency occuring at a lower current than the maximum power. The cell also demonstrated an unexpected decrease in parasitic loss with increasing cell current. The decrease in parasitic loss resulted from the development of a more reflective sodium film at higher sodium fluxes.

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The alkali metal thermal to electric converter (AMTEC) is an electrochemical device for the direct conversion of thermal energy to electrical energy with efficiencies potentially near Carnot. The future usefulness of AMTEC for space power conversion depends on the efficiency of the devices. Systems studies have projected from 15% to 35% thermal to electric conversion efficiencies, and one experiment has demonstrated 19% efficiency for a short period of time. A recent experiment in a recirculating test cell (RCT) has demonstrated sustained conversion efficiencies as high as 13.2%. The cell was operated at lower current and 12% efficiency for over 1700 more »

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