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