Research activities

Diverse mix of technicians, wearing lab coats, debate working procedure, in a disease research facility. Nuclear magnates resonance equipment, is in the background, this high end apparatus can be used to discover information on conditions such as dementia, diabetes, autism and cancer. Focus technique and layers, ensure the group of female science graduates and manager are the centre of attention. This is a realistic scenario.

The UNSW School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering is internationally recognised for its research groups working across the areas of solar PV (photovoltaics) and renewable energy. Many of our research groups receive funding from the Australian Research Council and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). We welcome partnerships and collaborations across the renewables sector and would love to have a conversation with you about joining us.

Characterisation, defects & machine learning

Making the most energy conversion efficient solar cell requires careful inspection of the materials used to make them and of the fabrication processes along the entire production chain.

Atomic-scale engineering for higher efficiency solar cells

Solar cells convert sunlight into electricity, and in our work, we are always aiming to produce the highest energy conversion efficiency at the lowest cost. The efficiency potential of a single junction solar cell is governed by the material properties of the absorbing material(s).

Bioenergy and renewable fuels

To effectively decarbonize energy from (fossil) fuels is one of the most important, but most difficult undertakings in the energy field. In the Bioenergy and Renewable Fuels group, we address critical problems in the production of several green fuels.

Distributed renewable energy systems

As distributed energy resources (DERs) including solar PV, batteries and demand-response are installed at increasingly high numbers, their successful integration into electricity industries will be critical to managing costs and reliability, and to the integration of variable renewable energy into the grid.

Mini solar

Solar PV contributes a rapidly increasing percentage of Australia’s electricity. More than 95 per cent of the modules being installed in either solar farms or on rooftops are made of silicon solar cells interconnected into modules and then systems.

Grid integration of variable renewable energy

As the amount of renewable energy in our energy market mix continues to increase, so does the percentage of that energy that is classified as “variable renewable energy”.

New solar PV materials

An exciting area of solar research is exploring the new materials that will become the next generation of solar cells: more efficient, more powerful and with a longer lifespan.

New tandem solar cells III-V

Silicon solar cells dominate the commercial PV industry, but the highest performance solar cells consist of multiple compounds of “III-V” materials (multi-junction solar cells).

Perovskite solar cells

Perovskite solar cells present opportunities to achieve next-generation high efficiency and low-cost solar PV devices, with their efficiency rate rapidly rising from below 4 per cent to over 25 per cent in only a decade.

Perovskites & organics

Organic and perovskite photovoltaics are extremely attractive candidates for use in next-generation solar cell technologies to generate renewable energy. They’re lightweight, mechanically flexible and offer affordable manufacturing processes.

Recycling & assessment of environmental & financial costs of PV

Recycling end-of-life solar cell and module materials is critical for the transition to a closed-loop renewable economy.

Rate & impedance analysis of lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion batteries are becoming integral to many devices and functions in an energy hungry world. Although this battery technology found its first successes in consumer electronics, lithium-ion batteries are now being adapted for use in electric vehicles.

Weather forecasting applied to renewable energy resources

As more solar and wind energy is installed across Australia, understanding the weather and being able to forecast how it affects renewable energy resources will be critical for ensuring a stable electricity network.

Impedance analyses for next generation battery management systems

As batteries are increasingly used to facilitate the integration of solar photovoltaics and wind into our electricity grids, opportunities exist for ‘smarter’ next generation battery management systems that can accurately and rapidly assess aging and state-of-charge in operating batteries.

Advanced PV concepts

Our work focuses on increasing the efficiency of solar cells through the use of multiple energy levels, or ‘tandem cells’. Light from the sun (solar photons) comprises a broad spectrum of colours, and therefore much potential energy conversion.

Renewable energy in emerging economies

Energy services are critical for all of our health and livelihoods while enabling productive activities and economic prosperity. However, more than a billion people around the world in rural areas and urban informal settlements do not have access to these services and infrastructure.

High rate energy solar

Lithium-ion batteries that can be charged and discharged at high rates can play a critical role in stabilising electricity grids that draw power from a large fraction of renewable energy generators.

Silicon PV metalisation & interconnection

To make silicon photovoltaic modules involves creating metal contacts on the surfaces of the individual solar cells, then connecting those cells in series to make modules.

Industrial solar cells

We are a diverse group of photovoltaic engineers and scientists from all over the world, with a focus on high impact, award-winning, fundamental research and industry-focused solar cell technology development.