1134849 University of Texas at Austin (UT-A); Brian Korgel
The University of Texas, Austin (UT-A) will become a new site in the existing Industry/ University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Next Generation Photovoltaics. The I/UCRC for Next Generation Photovoltaics began officially on March 1, 2010, with Colorado State University (CSU) as the only site (and the lead) in the Center.
The Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics focuses on the creation of innovative new strategies to low-cost photovoltaic devices by developing novel precursors, materials, and formulations.
The biggest long-term challenge facing the photovoltaics (PVs) industry is the development of a low-cost, scalable and reliable manufacturing approach to produce solar cells that are cost competitive with fossil fuels. This requires new PVs with efficiencies higher than 20% that are suitable for use for 20 years in the field and can be manufactured at very low cost. This I/UCRC site will target the development of multijunction thin film PVs that are very cheap to make but can achieve very high efficiencies. New materials, precursors, formulations and processes will be developed. This research is at the frontier of materials science and engineering, chemistry, chemical engineering, physics and electrical engineering.
A solution to decrease PV costs significantly would lead to widespread adoption of solar cell technology and a decrease in the world's reliance on non-renewable energy resources. The research problem is also an excellent training arena for future scientists and engineers, as it is highly interdisciplinary and provides a training environment for students. The I/UCRC efforts will also be interfaced with educational programs at CSU and UT-A focused on green technology. The industrial partnerships in the I/UCRC are also vital to the success of the program, and have the potential to catalyze significant economic growth. The proposed site will have a team of faculty and students that is diverse in gender, race and ethnicity and will always strive to increase the diversity of participants in the program.