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Wednesday, 02 April 2014

Research on organic photovoltaic cells gets a boost

The European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) has chosen to fund ICN2 Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantu’s StableNextSol Action, which will create an interdisciplinary, pan-European network of researchers to improve the stability of organic photovoltaic cells. The COST Action’s first Management Committee meeting was held on March 20, 2014, in Brussels, Belgium.

By 2020, 20% of the energy that the European Union uses must come from renewable sources, a requirement set by the European Renewable Energy Council.  The European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) foresees that photovoltaic energy could meet at least 12% of the EU’s electricity demand by 2020.  Prof. Mónica Lira-Cantu and her group at ICN2, the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group, are working to make photovoltaic energy a vital and consistent source of renewable energy.  The recent acceptance of a proposal submitted by Prof. Lira-Cantu will help the group and the European Union to achieve their renewable energy goals.

Prof. Lira-Cantu submitted her proposal, entitled Stable Next-Generation Photovoltaics: Unravelling Degradation Mechanisms of Organic Solar Cells by Complimentary Characterization Techniques (StableNextSol), to the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST).  Out of the 1000 proposals that were submitted, StableNextSol was one of 80 proposals that COST approved.  COST funds pan-European networks of scientists and members of industry from all fields of science and technology.  These networks, called COST Actions, connect researchers and stakeholders and give them the tools they need to work together in a coordinated effort, rather than as fragments, to solve global challenges.  As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”  Prof. Lira-Cantu’s COST Action was approved in November 2013 and will run until May 2018.

The StableNextSol Action will create an interdisciplinary network of academic and industry researchers to study how state-of-the-art organic photovoltaic cells (OPVs) degrade over time.  OPVs have major potential as a principal source of clean energy for the future, but introducing them to the market on a large scale is limited by how long they last.  Currently, OPVs have a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years, but the goal of researchers is to develop OPVs that can last at least 20 years, which is the lifespan required for integrating them into buildings.  The Action seeks to generate fundamental knowledge and expertise to foster disruptive innovations that mitigate device failure.  For this goal to be reached, scientists must use multiple characterization techniques to reveal degradation mechanisms in OPVs and then develop materials and methods that reduce or eliminate these mechanisms.

Through StableNextSol, more than 80 partners, including 50 research institutes and 11 companies, from 26 countries will be working together to understand and improve the stability of OPVs.  The Action’s kickoff meeting was held on March 20th in Brussels, Belgium, and focused on establishing the organization of the Action and choosing its management committee.  The next meeting of the StableNextSol Action will take place during the 7th International Summit on Organic Photovoltaic Stability (ISOS-7), which is being organized by the StableNextSol Action.  ISOS-7 will be held in Barcelona from October 6th through 8th, 2014.  Following the summit, the Action’s management committee will meet at ICN2 on the 8th and 9th of October.

For more information:

monica.lira@cin2.es

Links:

StableNextSol Action website:  www.stablenextsol.eu

StableNextSol Action on the COST website:  http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/mpns/Actions/MP1307