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SOLAR CELLS UK project seeks to advance organic perovskite solar cells

| Author / Editor: Luke James / Johanna Erbacher

A joint research team from Swansea University, Imperial College London, and the University of Oxford hope to advance organic perovskite solar cells and see them integrated into applications that current solar technologies aren’t cut out for.

The flexible organic solar module that has been developed at Swansea University. It can be printed directly onto a flexible base, making it cheaper to manufacture and suitable for more applications than existing solar cells.
The flexible organic solar module that has been developed at Swansea University. It can be printed directly onto a flexible base, making it cheaper to manufacture and suitable for more applications than existing solar cells.
(Source: Swansea University)

The joint research team has been awarded a £6 million Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (ESPRC) program grant to advance perovskite cells into applications that can’t be accommodated by current solar technologies.

Providing a boost to next-gen applications

Many researchers and industry commentators believe that organic and perovskite solar cells (PSCs) offer plenty of advantages over existing solar technologies. This is because PSCs are lightweight, cheap to produce, and highly flexible. They’re also able to be easily printed onto products and applications during the manufacturing process, speeding up time to market.

The organization that awarded the grant to the joint research team, the EPSRC, says that these properties make PSCs highly suitable for a range of 5G applications where ultra-lightweight power sources will be required, such as high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles or sensor and computing devices in IoT applications. According to the EPSRC, these cells could also be incorporated directly into the structures of zero-carbon buildings and vehicles for power generation.

Application targeted and integrated photovoltaics (ATIP)

The £6 million ESPRC grant will enable the joint research team to deliver the core science and engineering that will underpin the development of their organic solar technologies. The grant money will also help the team explore and potentially develop low-cost manufacturing methods for at-scale production. It will also enable the team to develop prototypes so that they’re able to demonstrate how the technology can be used in next-gen applications for power generation.

To see their vision through, the joint research team has established its own project known as Application Targeted and Integrated Photovoltaics (ATIP). The program will be led by the SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at Swansea in partnership with the university’s new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM), the Centre for Processable Electronics at Imperial College London and the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford.

“This exciting, multi-disciplinary project represents a step-change in the application of solar power and will help the UK to cut emissions and develop a climate-resilient, zero-carbon economy,” said Professor Dame Lynn Gladden, EPSRC’s executive chair.

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