Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Universities in £1.5m drive to cut cost of solar power

27.02.2007
Chemists, physicists, materials scientists and electrical engineers in Manchester and London are embarking on a £1.5m project to develop new and potentially cheaper ways of generating solar power.

The three and a half year project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), will investigate a number of new and novel solar cell designs, in an attempt to produce a more efficient system for generating green energy.

The consortium of researchers, led by Professor Paul O'Brien from The University of Manchester's School of Chemistry and Professor Jenny Nelson from The Department of Physics at Imperial College London, will investigate new designs that utilise intrinsically inexpensive materials and cheap fabrication methodologies.

The research team are aiming to build demonstration hybrid solar cells that have the long-term potential to be mass-produced and to achieve an energy conversion efficiency approaching ten per cent.

The cells will be made from both organic polymeric carbon-based materials and small particles of inorganic semiconductors.

Most designs are expected to draw on nanotechnology, with researchers planning to use so-called PbS nanorods - small cylinders of lead sulphide that are around 100 times smaller than a human hair.

Academics will also use semiconductor quantum dots - extremely small particles measuring around one ten-millionth of an inch - to absorb light.

Professor O'Brien said: "Alternatives to fossil fuel-based electricity sources are needed urgently, to reduce the environmental impact of electrical power generation and to secure our supply of electricity in the future.

"The widespread implementation of solar electricity requires a significant reduction in cost and a successful outcome to this project has the potential to provide a step-change solar cell technology."

Professor Nelson said: "A major reduction in the cost of solar power through the use of low-cost materials could seriously accelerate the take-up of renewable energy technology and make it much more accessible to the developing world."

The project is funded equally by the EPSRC's Materials and Energy programmes and will employ four postdoctoral research associates and two PhD students across the two universities.

By spreading the work across chemistry, electrical engineering, physics and materials departments, the consortium will investigate areas such as materials synthesis and characterisation, device fabrication and system integration.

Research at the University of Manchester will involve academics from the School of Chemistry, The School of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, The School of Materials and The School of Physics and Astronomy - making it a truly interdisciplinary project.

The funding award is the latest boost for The University of Manchester's School of Chemistry, which will officially open an expansive new £14m teaching and research extension tomorrow (Wednesday 28 February 2007).

Jon Keighren | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies
20.10.2017 | Naval Research Laboratory

nachricht Integrated lab-on-a-chip uses smartphone to quickly detect multiple pathogens
19.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Engineering

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>