[Newton] Advancing the efficiency and production potential of excitonic solar cells (APEX), Phase- II

Lead Research Organisation: Brunel University
Department Name: Institute of Materials and Manufacturing

Abstract

UK and India are both rising stars in the promotion of Solar Energy viz. direct generation of electricity from the Sun called photovoltaics (PV). In the UK, PV is seen as a key technology to reduce the carbon footprint of electricity generation. It is also a necessity if future building standards are to be met, which will require on-site generation. PV is the only way to meet this to date. DECC has announced recently 'The Solar Strategy' which promotes the deployment of solar technologies on the existing buildings. In India PV has the added benefit that it is a highly scalable technology that can be deployed to support the grid infrastructure and indeed can be built possibly faster than conventional power plants through terrestrial solar farms and BIPV sectors. The current APEX program stems from the strategic move by the governments of the UK and India who jointly identified Solar Energy as an area of significance in providing solutions to the problem of meeting future energy needs. This partnership was aimed at linking the strengths of both countries to enhance the research capabilities of both nations.
APEX had been focusing on the development of new functional materials, device structures, materials processing and engineering of photovoltaic modules utilising excitonic solar cells (ESCs). These are a class of nano-structured solar cells based on organic nano-composites and dye-sensitised nanocrystalline TiO2 materials. The current state-of-the-art power conversion efficiency (PCE) figures ~11.4% and ~9.2% has been achieved in liquid junction dye sensitized solar cell (DSSC) and organic solar cells (OSC), respectively. In the pursuit of achieving high efficiency solid state DSSC, a new breakthrough has been established recently through our Oxford group (Prof. Henry Snaith) who achieved >17% efficient solid state devices using pervoskite solar cells. Thus, the APEX team enjoys the exceptional, world-class capability in Excitonic PV technology. The success of the program had been through its novelty, innovation and cutting edge R&D capability it possesses.

Planned Impact

The first phase of APEX had been a learning curve for both the countries in setting up collaborations across various groups in India and the UK, which took some time to get established. Nevertheless, UK team had tried its best to exploit this opportunity to interact with Indian groups and vice-versa, which has demonstrated the innovation and excellence in the form of the joint outputs and exchange visits for the required knowledge exchange. The impacts, particularly with a benefit to India with the proposed APEX Phase-II, have been elaborated as following.
SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL IMPACT:
The success of the APEX program has already demonstrated its excellence across various academic groups within India. Apart from intense collaborations amongst the existing groups, other major groups with relevant expertise are also set to join hands to strengthened the objectives of the program. The scientific knowledge exchange is also likely to spread widely with the young researchers being groomed and acquiring new skills set to set out their priorities with new academic responsibilities aligning with the wider objective of the project.
INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT:
The joint consortia are committed to provide direct benefit of the research outcomes to the industrial partners and end users involved in the program. The successful outcome of the phase-I of the project has already opened up possibilities for end user companies like NSG-Pilkington group, G-24 Power and Solar Press who are looking for the opportunity to invest in India. This will significantly increase the bilateral trade opportunities between the two countries.The participating companies from UK have their commercial interests embedded. In particular, NSG-group is quite keen in establishing their foothold for glass market in India and building up of functional glass product with the help of members within APEX. G-24i Power and SolarPress have their interest in getting a stable and efficient devices for their product promotion and business in India. Besides, with the emergence of Perovskite Solar Cells and their success already getting global, Oxford PV have their strong interest in the Indian market and they have decided to come on board in APEX-II as Industry partners. Also, with the external participation of Swansea University (SPECIFIC) in the APEX phase-II, efforts will be made to bring on board the relevant wings of 'Tata' viz. Tatasteel, Tatacolours, Tatapower, who happens to be the largest employer in the UK as potential end user for commercialisation of the favourite technology, which will be helpful in new employment opportunities in India which is a win-win situation.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIAL IMPACT: Benefits to society and environment
The success of the Perovskite Solar Cells and the interests of OxfordPV along with other manufacturing groups within the UK, the benefits of this cheaper and efficient technology look quite apparent under Indian condition. The collaborations between Indian and UK teams are paying particular attention to exploring efficient, cheaper and friendly materials and processes which will have high capacity generation with little upfront costs and will help UK and India towards achieving low carbon society.

Publications

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Aristidou N (2015) The Role of Oxygen in the Degradation of Methylammonium Lead Trihalide Perovskite Photoactive Layers. in Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English)

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Arnon ZA (2018) Opal-like Multicolor Appearance of Self-Assembled Photonic Array. in ACS applied materials & interfaces

 
Description This project named [Newton]APEX-II, was funded jointly by EPSRC (UK) and DST (India) and had progressed from APEX program ( EP/H040218/2) with specific objectives to capitalise on the 'Perovskite Solar Cells' a disruptive technology invented by Professor Henry Snaith (Oxford University).
The program was aimed at achieving new variants of the Perovskite materials and new hybrid organic and inorganic materials to achieve high performance of solar cells with high efficiency and robust stability against environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, etc. The program progressed extremely well by strengthening the existing collaborations across India (seven) and The UK (six) institutions with the additional partnership from Swansea University. With significant amount of high impact outputs in the form of top journal publications (over 100), four patents and around 70 exchange visits of researchers across India and the UK, the consortium won the first 'Newton Prize' in 2017.
1. Oxford University partners were able to achieve >17% record efficiency in year 2017, which became the basis of fast growth of OxfordPV (spinout from Oxford University). Prof Henry Snaith and his group is currently targeting ~30 % efficiency through Perovskite/ C-Si tandem solar cell combination.
2.The researchers at NPL India have succeeded in getting around 12% efficiencies (not verified) on small area which has resulted in a very high impact factor publication. This was achieved through a novel device concept for the first time.
3. The researchers at Swansea University/Imperial College London have succeeded in developing Perovskite modules over 10% efficiency at 30cm x 30cm size demonstrator which was one of the objectives of the demonstrator.
Exploitation Route The success of high efficiency and reasonably stable perovskite solar cells research studies and new materials synthesis for band gap tuning (Cambridge, Oxford and other partner groups) and tandem solar cells (achieved by Oxford University group) and large area modules of perovskite solar cells (Swansea University) has resulted in Tata group in India very keen on pursuing further participation on this new generation solar cell research for cheaper electricity for the villages in India. The team led by Swansea University with APEX partners in the UK and India had participated for the GCRF (Grow) bid called SUNRISE and were successful in the award through EPSRC support, which commenced from April 2018.
Apart from some deliverables as listed in earlier section, the program has progressed further keeping the consortium members and the momentum intact in the form of GCRF/ EPSRC supported funding called SUNRISE (EP/P032591/1) with additional objectives to develop affordable electricity for Indian villages through the build of energy positive homes/ demonstrators through the support of TATA group at five different locations in India.
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://hariupadhyaya.wix.com/apex-1
 
Description The success of this funding support from EPSRC and DST had led to some exceptional outcomes and deliverables which was recognised internationally and the program APEX-II was selected among 150 projects to win the first Newton Prize. The support from this prize money (£200k) was able to support the ongoing SUNRISE program and the PI was able to hold an international conference on Hybrid and Perovskite solar cells during February 2019 through the additional funding support from British Council and Royal Society through Researcher Link workshop award, which attracted top researchers across the globe including > 200 participants in New Delhi including around 50 ECRs who were trained during the workshop was a great success. The progress on this on-going project is already having a significant impact on the development of a large area Perovskite Solar Cell over 10cm x 10cm with an efficiency targeted over 10%. The PI at Brunel University (now at London South bank University, LCBU, after his move in July 2018!) and researchers at IIT New Delhi, India and researchers at Swansea University are already involved in achieving some significant results over 10cm x 10cm for Perovskite solar cells, which is attracting attention of end-user companies like Tata, NSG-Pilkington, E4U, Power on Demand, etc. The Indian and UK academics are planing a joint spin-out on materials development and PV device scale up possibilities. The consortia is also targeting need based product and system development with low upfront cost for the villages in India with the success of the GCRF (SUNRISE program) recently acquired with approximately £6.5 m value led by Swansea University, along with LSBU, Brunel, Cambridge and Oxford University retaining the partnership of almost all Indian Institutions involved in [Newton] APEX-II program, with additional partners from IIT Bombay. The SUNRISE program is already half way through and developing well with the support of partner groups including Tata Group in India towards building energy positive buildings as demonstrators as deliverables within the program.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Energy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Description Strategic University Network to Revolutionise Indian Solar Energy (SUNRISE)
Amount £6,580,123 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/P032591/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2017 
End 12/2021
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Department of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation Indian Institute of Science Bangalore
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Delhi
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation JNCASR Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, India
Country India 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi, India
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation University of Cambridge
Department Cavendish Laboratory
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Department School of Chemistry
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description APEX Phase-1 
Organisation University of Oxford
Department Department of Physics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Thos project was a collaborative initiative by RCUK Indian and DST in India to bring together partners from India and the UK to work in the solar energy research area. There have been about eight joint publication and one joint patent filed with partners in India involving also NSG-Pilkington group.
Collaborator Contribution The Indian partners have been quite proactive in also developing organic solar cell modules and novel materials for the solar cell research towards the development of a cost effective process.
Impact Already uploaded.
Start Year 2010
 
Description UKIERI (DST/ British Council) Project on "Development of solution processed CdTe@ZnTe core/shell nanocomposite plasmonic solar cells" 
Organisation Berhampur University
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As the project was aimed at design of low cost quantum dot sensitised solar cell and hence comes under "Sustainable energy supply" mentioned in UKIERI phase 2 the first part of the program the quantum dots were obtained as planned with small particle size, which essentially resulted in a wider bandgap materials, which were not suitable as optical absorber. So, on the advice of the UK Principal Investigator efforts were made by Indian investigators to get appropriate band gap of the materials by tailoring and doping the materials to get right band gap. Also, the program suffered major disruption due to sad demise of Indian PI Prof S.N. Sahu and later move of the UK Pi from Heriot-Watt University to Brunel University. UK PI was able to link up collaborations of Indian partners with IISER Pune and University of Pune during the course of the program evolved from the ongoing Indo-UK APEX program which is sustaining itself.
Collaborator Contribution The PI of U.K is now well acquainted with the Indian partners and vice-versa. In addition, the U.K PI and his team (then PhD student and now a Post-doc in Europe) learned how to prepare the very small Au nanoparticles and its application towards the development of different areas like biosensors and chemical sensors and has published a good few papers towards his PhD from this effort. Besides, this seed funding to carry out a bilateral collaboration provided the opportunity for the researchers of both the countries to carry out the efforts at their own level, but with the end of the program there is hope more opportunities will be coming from other funding call where the PIs will have the track record of submitting proposals together to win grants to sustain the collaborations. Though the targeted efficiency has not been achieved however there is much hope to reach the targeted efficiency by tuning the materials in their size level for a proper band gap with the help of dopant additives and surfactant.
Impact This project was first of its kind between the PIs from UK and India and have resulted in some extraordinary experience for both partners during the course of its progression. Unfortunately, the project suffered two major disruptions during the specified period: (a) the move of the PI from Heriot-watt University to Brunel University due to family circumstances which took exceptional time in settling the collaboration agreement due to unprecedented delays caused by Heriot-Watt (b) the postponement of the visit plans of the Indian partners due to sudden ill health of the PI from India, Prof S.N Sahu, who eventually was diagnosed with the terminal illness and succumbed to that during April 2016. Because of above disruptions, the partners in India were badly demoralised, however, the encouragement from the PI at the UK who provided the motivation to the CoIs in India to sustain their efforts with an intention to finish the project in the honour and dedication to late Prof S.N. Sahu. We both India and UK partners are happy at least we could take this project to a logical conclusion even in the absence of the real missing expertise Indian team suffered during the course of the project. Apart from successful training of the PhD students, following research outputs were planned, unfortunately couldn't be published so far, however will require further studies for a journal publication in the future, if possible: 1. Effect of thin Au Quantum Dot Layer on the Photo Conversion Efficiency of LEEH Caped CdSe Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cell H.M.Upadhyaya,M.Hota,D.Sahu and S.K.Tripathy Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cell,Elsevier 2. Synthesis and Characterization of Oleic Acid Stabilized CdTe /ZnTe Core /Shell Nanocrystal for Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cell. D.Sahu,S.KTripathy,H.M.Upadhyaya. Advanced Energy Materials ,Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co
Start Year 2014
 
Description UKIERI (DST/ British Council) Project on "Development of solution processed CdTe@ZnTe core/shell nanocomposite plasmonic solar cells" 
Organisation National Institute of Science and Technology (Autonomous), India
Country India 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution As the project was aimed at design of low cost quantum dot sensitised solar cell and hence comes under "Sustainable energy supply" mentioned in UKIERI phase 2 the first part of the program the quantum dots were obtained as planned with small particle size, which essentially resulted in a wider bandgap materials, which were not suitable as optical absorber. So, on the advice of the UK Principal Investigator efforts were made by Indian investigators to get appropriate band gap of the materials by tailoring and doping the materials to get right band gap. Also, the program suffered major disruption due to sad demise of Indian PI Prof S.N. Sahu and later move of the UK Pi from Heriot-Watt University to Brunel University. UK PI was able to link up collaborations of Indian partners with IISER Pune and University of Pune during the course of the program evolved from the ongoing Indo-UK APEX program which is sustaining itself.
Collaborator Contribution The PI of U.K is now well acquainted with the Indian partners and vice-versa. In addition, the U.K PI and his team (then PhD student and now a Post-doc in Europe) learned how to prepare the very small Au nanoparticles and its application towards the development of different areas like biosensors and chemical sensors and has published a good few papers towards his PhD from this effort. Besides, this seed funding to carry out a bilateral collaboration provided the opportunity for the researchers of both the countries to carry out the efforts at their own level, but with the end of the program there is hope more opportunities will be coming from other funding call where the PIs will have the track record of submitting proposals together to win grants to sustain the collaborations. Though the targeted efficiency has not been achieved however there is much hope to reach the targeted efficiency by tuning the materials in their size level for a proper band gap with the help of dopant additives and surfactant.
Impact This project was first of its kind between the PIs from UK and India and have resulted in some extraordinary experience for both partners during the course of its progression. Unfortunately, the project suffered two major disruptions during the specified period: (a) the move of the PI from Heriot-watt University to Brunel University due to family circumstances which took exceptional time in settling the collaboration agreement due to unprecedented delays caused by Heriot-Watt (b) the postponement of the visit plans of the Indian partners due to sudden ill health of the PI from India, Prof S.N Sahu, who eventually was diagnosed with the terminal illness and succumbed to that during April 2016. Because of above disruptions, the partners in India were badly demoralised, however, the encouragement from the PI at the UK who provided the motivation to the CoIs in India to sustain their efforts with an intention to finish the project in the honour and dedication to late Prof S.N. Sahu. We both India and UK partners are happy at least we could take this project to a logical conclusion even in the absence of the real missing expertise Indian team suffered during the course of the project. Apart from successful training of the PhD students, following research outputs were planned, unfortunately couldn't be published so far, however will require further studies for a journal publication in the future, if possible: 1. Effect of thin Au Quantum Dot Layer on the Photo Conversion Efficiency of LEEH Caped CdSe Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cell H.M.Upadhyaya,M.Hota,D.Sahu and S.K.Tripathy Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cell,Elsevier 2. Synthesis and Characterization of Oleic Acid Stabilized CdTe /ZnTe Core /Shell Nanocrystal for Quantum Dot Sensitized Solar Cell. D.Sahu,S.KTripathy,H.M.Upadhyaya. Advanced Energy Materials ,Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co
Start Year 2014
 
Title A process for printing of zinc oxide thin films for use in organic solar cells and other organic and inorganic electronic devices 
Description Low cost low temperature ZnO printing 
IP Reference Indian patent 1297/DEL/2015 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2015
Licensed No
Impact The process once optimised can have huge industrial impact especially on flexible electronics.
 
Title Joint provisional patent application is filed between CSIR-NCL, Pune, IISER Pune, and Cambridge UK 
Description The joint patent application on "Hybrid perovskite films with highly enhanced optical and electrical properties by addition of quaternary alkyl ammonium salts." 
IP Reference  
Protection Copyrighted (e.g. software)
Year Protection Granted 2016
Licensed No
Impact The refinement on the discovery can lead to commercial interests by companies who may be willing to take the technology to production and at that point the Cambridge University UK and counterpart IISER Pune India will be benefitting from the invention.
 
Description Coordination of the APEX project 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The coordination visits taken up by the PI of the APEX program was also highly acknowledged regarded by the final specialists of the interview panel for its recommendation from APEX-1 to APEX -II transition.
the coordination visits on average 2-3 visits in India per year covering at leat 4 partner institution for keeping the momentum on and mobilising the researchers was the significant element recognised as the excellent leadership and for the success of the project.
The APEX-i program was selected as one of the best PV related projects between India and the UK announced by RCUK in June 2015.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010,2011,2012,2013,2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/films/