Photovoltaics and hydrogen: Future energy options

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Solar power is destined to make a significant contribution to world energy supply for reasons of both the finite amount of fossil fuels and environmental damage consciousness. It is emphasized that the global environmental damage caused thermodynamically is more alarming to life on Earth than the risk of exhausting the finite amount of fossil fuels being consumed at the present rate. Solar power plants can be designed and constructed to convert solar radiation into some concentrated form of useful energy first and then into electricity or directly into electricity. The latter kind is comprised of photovoltaic cells. This paper discusses some of the solar energy options and also presents a historical overview, explains the rudimentary physical principles of the technology, the photovoltaic effect, the process to generate electricity in silicon solar cells, thin-film devices and high efficiency cells, and finally, the state-of-the-art of the latest developments in solar cell technology. Finally, the storing of solar energy, collected by a photovoltaic system, is recommended in the form of hydrogen as a future energy option.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881-1893
Number of pages13
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number18
StatePublished - Dec 1997


  • Demand and supply
  • Efficiency
  • Environmental damage
  • Fossil fuel
  • High quality energy
  • Hydrogen
  • Photovoltaic
  • Solar energy conversion
  • Storage


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