The federal government’s renewable energy agency, ARENA, has awarded $2.5 million in solar energy research funding to Professor Anita Ho-Baillie, the John Hooke Chair of Nanoscience at the University of Sydney Nano Institute. The funding is part of a national injection of $15 million to support solar photovoltaic research.
The funds will support two multi-institutional research projects with Professor Ho-Baillie as lead chief investigator. These projects will improve the energy-conversion efficiencies and durability of emerging silicon-perovskite photovoltaic cell technologies.
“Perovskite solar cells are really hitting their stride now,” Professor Ho-Baillie said.
“Apart from being cheap and easy to produce, these solar cells can be combined with the incumbent silicon technology to boost efficiency. Now we want to make sure these cells are able to last a long time to make our technology truly cost effective,” she said.
“We will also use the funding to support our new approach where we stack two layers of perovskite cells on top of a silicon cell to get as much energy out of the sun as possible.”
Perovskites are crystal structures of mineral compounds. The metal halide version is particularly useful for solar-cell applications.
The Director of Sydney Nano, Professor Ben Eggleton, said: “This funding will assist our mission to transform experimental science into commercial application in the solar and renewable energy sector.”
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said: “We are proud of our achievements in securing ARENA and industry partner support for Professor Ho-Baillie undertake such cutting-edge solar research.”
Professor Ho-Baillie will be leading a team of researchers from the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales.
The ongoing work will build on Professor Ho-Baillie’s impressive achievements, including this year having perovskite solar cells pass strict standards on heat and humidity set by the International Electrotechnical Commission.
ARENA chief executive, Darren Miller, said: “It’s fantastic to see so much interest in our latest solar R&D round. We have a great variety of projects that are spread across our priority areas.”