November 03 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Energy Year: 2020 Rating: 4 Hot
Most energy analysts see solar energy (via thermal, traditional photovoltaics and thin film) at the beginning of its commercial growth curve. Yet there is still much that we do not know about the fundamentals of solar energy conversions that can produce electricity, heat, hydrogen and synthetic fuels. Developing a 21st century roadmap for the future of solar energy requires us to first recognize the need for funding basic research in science and then explore the disruptive potential of breakthroughs in applied engineering.
Funding basic and applied research in Solar Photoconversion
The US Department of Energy’s Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion is launching 12 novel solar research projects totaling more than $1.1 million in its inaugural round of research and development funding.
CRSP, the newest research center of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, is dedicated to the basic and applied research necessary to create revolutionary new solar energy technologies as well as education and training opportunities.
According to NREL Senior Research Fellow and CRSP Scientific Director Arthur Nozik, the 12 CRSP projects “represent the leading edge of research into both new ways to generate electricity and liquid and gaseous fuels directly from the sun and improving our approaches toward these goals.”
The 12 selected solar projects are:
- Integrated Electrical and Optical Characterization of Silicon Thin Films – NREL and CSM, $99,818
- Redox-Tunable Polymers for OPV active layers – NREL and CSU, $100,000
- Group IV Nanowire Photovoltaics – Colorado School of Mines, $100,000
- InVitro Evolution of RNA-Inorganic Catalysts for the Conversion of CO2 to Alcohols – CU, $100,000
- Optimizing Cu2ZnSnS4-based Photovoltaic Devices for Thin Films – CSU and Wyoming, $75,000;
- Group IV Quantum Dots for 3rd Generation Photovoltaics – NREL and CU, $95,000.
- Probing Critical Interfaces in 2nd and 3rd Generation Photovolaics with Nonlinear Optics – NREL and CU, $100,000;
- Spatially-resolved Spectroscopic Studies of Small Ordered Crystals of Semiconductor Nanocrystals – NREL and CSU, $100,000;
- Nanoscale Engineering of Functional Metal Oxides for Photocatalysts and Photovoltaics – CSM, $98,893;
- Plasma Processing for Improved Understanding and Control of Film Properties and Interfaces with Organic/Polymeric/Hybrid Solar Cells – CSU, $100,000;
- Fundamental Studies of Polyoxometallage-Based Nano-Materials for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting – NREL and CSM, $100,000.
- Development of an Economical Catalyst for Water Oxidation (solar fuels) – CU, $100,000.
Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory
The Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory is a research partnership among the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Colorado’s premier research universities – Colorado State University, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado School of Mines.
Fourteen companies now belong to CRSP: Applied Materials, Inc., Ascent Solar Technologies, DuPont, Evident Technologies, General Motors, Konarka, Lockheed Martin, Motech Industries, QuantumSphere, Sharp, Solasta, Sub-One Technology, SunEdison and Toyota.
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