Researchers looking to drive next-generation solar technology into new applications have been awarded a £6mn Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) programme grant.
Announced on 26 July, the grant will support the researchers as they look to advance organic and perovskite solar cells into applications that current solar technologies are not suitable for. The next-generation photovoltaics have already been found to compete with the performance of current technology, while offering other benefits, such as being flexible, lightweight, cheap to produce and the ability to be printed directly onto products during manufacture.
These properties mean they are suitable to new applications such as 5G, which requires ultra-lightweight sources of power for pseudo-satellites and high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles; the Internet of Things, which has sensors and computing devices increasingly embedded into everyday objects; and zero carbon buildings and vehicles, which could use their roofs, walls and windows to generate power.
The research team will use the grant to deliver the fundamental science and engineering to underpin the development of these solar technologies, to develop low carbon and low-cost manufacturing methods that enable them to be produced at scale, and to develop prototypes to show how they can provide solar power in new applications.