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Reference Number EP/Z002494/1
Title Nonplanar spray-coated solar cells
Status Funded
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources (Solar Energy, Photovoltaics) 50%;
Energy Efficiency (Transport) 50%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 25%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 75%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor DG Lidzey
No email address given
Physics and Astronomy
University of Sheffield
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 02 September 2024
End Date 01 March 2026
Duration 18 months
Total Grant Value £258,291
Industrial Sectors Manufacturing
Region Yorkshire & Humberside
Programme Manufacturing and the Circular Economy
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor DG Lidzey , Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield (99.999%)
  Other Investigator Dr S Ribeiro Furtado , Advanced Manufacturing Res Centre Boeing, University of Sheffield (0.001%)
Web Site
Abstract We will develop spray coated solar cell technology and explore the direct deposition of high efficiency perovskite solar cells onto curved surfaces. Sush devices will add minimal weight to the surface on which they are coated and will allow energy to be generated in locations close to where it is being used, for example on the roof or body of an electric vehicle, or the cladding that is attached to the surface of a building. Our preliminary measurements suggest such a mass penalty to be around 5 grams per square metre and therefore such solar cells will add relatively little overall weight of an electric vehicle (EV), but will be capable of trickle-charging the car's battery when it is parked in the sunshine. The low weight nature of our technology is expected to be particularly important for EV applications, as reduced weight extends their maximum driving range. The carbon fibre composite materials on which we spray-cast solar cells will also be light-weight, rigid and strong and will be of importance in building applications as they could be retro-fitted as cladding to older buildings that are unable to support the weight of relatively heavy conventional solar cell devices based on silicon.This research will build a unique toolbox of manufacturing process for the production of solar cells based around ultrasonic spray-coating. The process has recently been demonstrated at small 'lab-scale'. Our aim is to scale-up this technology, making it more repeatable and increasing the efficiency by which the solar cell converts light to electricity (the so-called power conversion efficiency). The surface on which we will spray-coat devices is of critical importance; surfaces have to be very smooth and contain a low rate of imperfections. Existing research has mainly targeted glass surfaces which are very smooth, however a process to spray-coat solar-cells onto carbon fibre composites having appropriate surface requirements will be developed. This process development will enable the transfer of this technology to a variety of other composites and can be expanded to include other emerging manufacturing methods. The research will culminate in the creation of a demonstrator device that will be fabricated over a non planar carbon-fibre surface. We plan to show the demonstrator to potential end users and build a collaboration network that will further develop this technology and drive it towards commercialisation

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Added to Database 03/07/24