Next-gen solar tech

5 August 2020

Oxford’s Department of Physics along with Swansea University and Imperial College London have been awarded £6 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to drive next-generation solar technology into new applications.

The award will advance organic and perovskite solar cells into applications that current solar technologies are not suitable for. These next-generation photovoltaics show great promise: their performance competes with current technology, but they have the advantages of being flexible, lightweight, cheap to produce, and they can be printed directly onto products during manufacture.

A range of applications

These properties make them suitable for new applications that will be critical to advances such as 5G, which requires ultra-lightweight sources of power for pseudo-satellites and high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs); The Internet of Things, for which sensors and computing devices are increasingly embedded into everyday objects; and Zero-carbon buildings and vehicles, which could use their roofs, walls and windows to generate power.

The EPSRC programme grant will be used by the team to deliver the fundamental science and engineering to underpin the development of these promising solar technologies; develop low-carbon, low-cost manufacturing methods that will enable them to be produced at scale; and develop prototypes to show how they can provide solar power in new applications.

Collaborating with industry

The research programme is called Application Targeted and Integrated Photovoltaics (ATIP). It will be led by SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre at Swansea University in partnership with Swansea’s new Centre for Integrative Semiconductor Materials (CISM), the Centre for Processable Electronics (CPE) at Imperial College London, and Oxford University’s Department of Physics. It also involves 12 key industry partners from different parts of the supply chain, who understand the technical and cost requirements to deliver new products to market.

Find out more about ATIP

Image caption: A flexible perovskite solar cell
© Swansea University