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Scientists testing 'miracle material' for power generation in space encouraged by results: 'This shift could redefine the solar industry landscape'

"[This] may become a mainstream choice for powering residential, commercial, and industrial applications."

"[This] may become a mainstream choice for powering residential, commercial, and industrial applications."

Photo Credit: iStock

Perovskite solar cells could be the next big thing when it comes to clean energy, offering improvements in weight, flexibility, and range of applications compared to their silicon cousins, as CleanTechnica reports. 

But before they conquer Earth, they're going on a few little voyages in space.

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Perovskite solar cells utilize synthetic versions of a naturally occurring mineral discovered in 1839, per CleanTechnica. However, they have been limited in their applications as they face stability and manufacturability hurdles, as detailed by the U.S. Department of Energy.

In 2023, NASA assessed their performance at the International Space Station. The test results indicate that perovskite panels could be durable for operations on the moon and elsewhere, according to CleanTechnica.

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology have also integrated this "miracle material" into the institution's collection of solar cells to test for a space-to-earth wireless solar power project.

Meanwhile, U.S.-based Merida Aerospace is developing perovskite solar cells to use in low-Earth orbit satellites. 

"Perovskite solar cells have demonstrated remarkable resilience to high-energy radiation in space conditions, thanks to a self-healing effect," Andrea Marquez, research engineer at the company said in a statement.

The company said that these satellites typically use solar panels made from gallium arsenide cells. However, gallium is rare and expensive, and China accounts for 90% of the world's gallium production, according to the CleanTechnica article, which states that perovskites could "provide a more economical solution while also addressing supply chain issues."

Eventually, Merida sees perovskite technology making its way back to solid ground to offer much-needed clean, renewable energy to Earthlings.

"Perovskite technology may become a mainstream choice for powering residential, commercial, and industrial applications," Merida stated, per CleanTechnica. "This shift could redefine the solar industry landscape, moving towards a future where perovskite solar cells play a vital role in meeting the world's growing energy demands sustainably."

We could be seeing it sooner than later, too, as one Japanese company is hoping to begin commercial production of perovskite technology by the end of the year. Meanwhile, scientists in Saudi Arabia are combining perovskite with silicon to maximize performance and longevity. 

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