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Friday, 24 June 2011

NREL, German Solar Energy Researchers to Work Together

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
June 23, 2011
German and American researchers will work together more closely on solar energy topics as a result of today’s signing of a Memo of Understanding (MOU) between the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the German Helmholtz Association. The MOU identifies several key solar energy topics to explore for joint research cooperation.

Scientists from the two countries, among other endeavors, will cooperate to synthesize and characterize novel materials that are candidates for more efficient solar cells and solar fuels.

They’ll also develop and use fast imaging techniques to help characterize thin-film materials on the micrometer to nanometer scale, and to characterize in situ growth processes.

They’ll seek a fundamental understanding of grain boundary/interface passivation in thin-film silicon and search for the potential and limits of wide band-gap thin-film solar cells. Thin films, made of copper, indium, gallium, selenium and other emerging materials, could potentially replace silicon as the most efficient materials in next-generation thin-film solar arrays.

To measure performance and reliability of solar cells and modules, the scientists will use electroluminescence, photoluminescence and thermography. They will also investigate the stability of solar cells by subjecting them to high temperatures and light exposures.

New device structures and lower cost catalysts will also be investigated for the generation of hydrogen in photocatalytic solar fuel generation.


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