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Canon Develops Protective Material For Bendable Solar Cells

As Japan pushes to commercialise solar cell technology, Canon has created a new protective material, expected to double the life of bendable solar cells, to between 20 and 30 years.

It will be used to protect the light-harvesting perovskite layer. This deteriorates when it’s exposed to humidity and heat.

Applying one coat with a thickness between 100 and 200 nanometers will reportedly reduce the need for maintenance and repairs.

Perovskite solar cells were initially created in Japan, and are thin, flexible and versatile. They’re considered keys to Japan’s energy security.

Canon has leveraged its knowledge in photoreceptors and partnered with the inventor of perovskite solar cells, Tsutomu Miyasaka of Toin University of Yokohama, Japan.

Mass production is expected to start next year, with the target of generating billions in yen in sales by 2030. (1 billion yen equals about A$9.5 million).

Canon will also monitor the material’s effectiveness in real-world conditions.

Oil refiner Eneos Holdings is also expected to boost its output of iodine, which is a key material used in perovskite cells. This will reportedly grow demand in the latter half of this decade.

Group unit JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration will be investing a minimum of 10 billion yen (approx. A$95 million) in a plant. This is in an effort to double capacity within five years to an annual 440 tons.

These perovskite cells aren’t currently commercialised in Japan; however, the global market is tipped to expand to U$6.58 billion (approx. A$9.7 billion) by 2032, which is approximately 36x the 2024 figure.

Canon and Eneos would be supplying companies such as Toshiba and Panasonic, which produce perovskite cells.

JGC Holdings is a company that plans to start generating power using the cells by 2026, having them installed in factories and warehouses.

The Japanese government is also expected to spend around 64.8 billion yen for the commercialisation of perovskite cells, in an attempt to start using them by 2030.

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