Monday, January 31, 2022
Following a decade of research to create cheaper and more efficient solar energy system, a Nigerian energy company, Bontrax Energy, has finally developed a technology that will reduce the cost of electricity by 50%. This, it will make possible through a new photovoltaic (solar cell) system with 80% efficiency.
The new technology was showcased at the recently concluded World Science and Technology Conference which held in Accra, Ghana. The head of the research team explained that the new technology makes use of a mineral, Umuaiha, discovered seven years ago in a town in the south eastern part of Nigeria. The mineral was name after the town.
The present day photovoltaic (PV) cells are made from either Crystalline Silicon or Perovskite. While those made from Crystalline Silicon have an average of 17 percent efficiency and those from Perovskite, an average of 25 percent efficiency, the Umuaiha-made solar cells perform at a whopping 80 percent efficiency level.
It means 80% of the amount of sunlight (photons) that hits the cells are successfully converted and stored as electricity (voltage). This is made possible by the capacity of the solar cells to convert photons to voltage at a rate over three times faster than perovskite-made cells.
The implication of this is that, with a 250KW photovoltaic system, a community of 40,000 people can store up its needed electricity for one month in just 1 week of average of 23°C and an air mass of 1.5kg per cubic metre weather condition.
On an industrial scale, the new technology is 53% the cost of the present PV system and 78% the cost of fossil fuel power generation technologies. The technology is, therefore, expected to reduce cost of electricity for consumers by, at least, 50%.
This is undoubtedly the biggest breakthrough in the renewable energy sector. “Since the new PV can convert solar energy to electricity far more quickly, the quest for improved capacity of the storage of harvested sunlight is now less-imperative - especially with the advent of the newly improved ZAC224 batteries with 323% better storage capacity than what we had five years ago” said Mr Kingsley Owogbu, MD, Bontrax Energy.
The research was carried out by the MD of Bontrax Energy, along with four fresh university graduates, who were undergraduate industrial trainee staff of Bontrax when the research started. One of the scholars, Miss Funmi Arowolo, a 26-year old graduate of Physics from University of Nigeria, Nsukka, said “the discovery was made possible not only because we disregarded the pessimism of some scholars (both locally and internationally) but also because we had a good investor who believed in us.”
The research was supported by Sanni Dawodu, a kogi-born Nigerian businessman, with well over N7 Billion. He has now become the chairman of Bontrax Energy.
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