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EGEB: Self-healing for perovskite solar cells, clean energy corporate structure bill, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • A “self-healing” polymer prevents pollutant leakage from perovskite solar cells.
  • South Korea looks to make a move away from coal — even if it’s a small move.
  • Clean energy companies may get to use the same corporate structure as oil and gas companies.
  • The world’s first twin-rotor floating wind turbine is ready for testing.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

We’ve seen a lot of perovskite-related developments in recent months — a quick list:

And now a group of scientists has found that applying a protective layer of epoxy resin to perovskite solar cells can help prevent the leakage of pollutants, specifically to reduce the release of lead. The findings were published in Nature Energy.

Researcher and study co-leader Yabing Qi of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University shared his thoughts on the findings, noting that though perovskite cells are efficient, they have “environmental drawbacks”:

“While so-called ‘lead-free’ technology is worth exploring, it has not yet achieved efficiency and stability comparable to lead-based approaches. Finding ways of using lead in PSCs while keeping it from leaking into the environment, therefore, is a crucial step for commercialization.”

As part of the study, researchers “exposed the solar cells to brutal conditions to simulate worst-case weather scenarios” and found the self-healing polymer still minimized leakage.

South Korea Steps

South Korea is set to unveil a new 15-year energy plan later this year that is expected to close as many as 20 coal-fired generators while expanding green energy in the country, Reuters reports.

While South Korea formerly pledged to hit a goal of 35% renewable energy by 2040 — the country raised its target “amid public anger” — that’s rightly seen as a low mark to hit at this point. This new plan should increase that goal at the expense of imported coal.

The country currently has 60 coal power plants which supplied about 42% of its electricity in 2018, so this new plan could cut a third of that. But even that progress would be offset somewhat. As Reuters notes, the possible change “comes even as seven new coal-fired plants are set for completion by 2022. Coal-fired capacity will rise in coming years before easing by 2030.”

Clean Energy Structure

A bill being reintroduced into Congress with bipartisan support would allow clean energy companies to enter a Master Limited Partnership, allowing them to trade stocks and bonds while benefitting from tax advantages. It’s the kind of benefit currently available to oil, gas, and coal companies.

The Financing Our Energy Future Act would level the playing field. U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA-05) and Ron Estes (R-KS-04) re-introduced the bill, as detailed on Coons’ website.

If the bill is passed, newly eligible energy resources “would include solar, wind, marine and hydrokinetic energy, fuel cells, energy storage, combined heat and power, biomass, waste heat to power, renewable fuels, biorefineries, energy efficient buildings, and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).”

Twin Turbine Trials

The first twin-rotor floating wind turbine in the world is ready for testing in the Atlantic Ocean, Recharge News reports.

A 40-ton prototype with two 100 kW-class machines, the W2Power platform is currently being tested in more shallow waters, but at full scale, it’s designed to be used at water depths from anywhere between 35 to 300 meters.

Successful testing could lead to a 60 MW development of multiple twin-rotor floating turbines in 2021 off the Canary Islands.

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