[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 award is half way through with some delays experienced by the Indian consortium. However, the overall progress of the project has been satisfactory. the highlights of the two 6 monthly Review meetings conducted so far in India and the UK has resulted in the following key developments:
1. 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.
2. Researchers at NPL India have achieved over 10% efficiencies on perovskite solar cells at 10cm x 10cm scale which they wish to combine with the expertise of monolithic module making development work with Brunel University.
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 last Review cum discussion meeting in February 2016 in IISER Pune India saw the interests of companies like Tata and Power on Demand attending the meeting and expressing their interests for commercialisation of the technologies.
The success of high efficiency and reasonably stable perovskite solar cells research studies and new materials synthesis for band gap tuning (Cambridge) 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 has participated for the current GCRF bid and were selected for the interview round (results awaited!).
Sectors Communities and Social Services/Policy,Creative Economy,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL http://hariupadhyaya.wix.com/apex-1
 
Description 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 and researchers at NPL 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 £8m value led by Swansea University, along with Brunel, Cambridge and Oxford University retaining the partnership of all seven Indian Institutions involved in [Newton] APEx-II program.
First Year Of Impact 2014
Sector Chemicals,Communities and Social Services/Policy,Energy,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Impact Types Economic

 
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
 
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
URL http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/films/