A Rochester Institute of Technology professor received a grant from the Department of Energy to research ways to develop low-cost, high-efficiency solar cells. Professor Seth Hubbard received nearly $ 400,000 from the DOE to try to drastically reduce the cost of high-efficiency solar cells by using a process called chipping to design the substrates so that solar cells can be reused.
“One of the problems with solar cells is that they can be made cheaply, but they are not as efficient and therefore do not produce as much electricity. Or you can spend more money developing solar cells that are more efficient, ”said Hubbard. “The most efficient and unfortunately most expensive types of solar cells are used in space for satellites, as costs are less important in this environment. In this project we want to bring these cells to earth at a reasonable cost. “
An expert in designing, growing and manufacturing solar cells, Hubbard said if the cost of these high-efficiency solar cells could be lowered enough, they could be used to support devices ranging from smartphones to drones to cars. Hubbard is a faculty member in the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, director of NanoPower Research Laboratories, and a member of the Future Photon Initiative.
Over the next three years, he will work with Arizona State University, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and a company called Crystal Sonic to conduct the research. The RIT funding received will help attract an RIT researcher as well as students of the RIT Masters in Physics and Ph.D. to support. in microsystem engineering programs to work on the project. Hubbard said he hoped to attract students to the research, which should begin next summer. The work is expected to be completed in 2023.
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