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November 26, 2007

DOE funds solar power research and several projects use nanowires, nanostructures and plasmonics

The DOE funded 25 projects as part of the Next Generation Photovoltaic Devices & Processes program to make solar power cost competitive with coal and nuclear power by 2015.

Here are several of the funded projects:
Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, NY) project will develop PV cells for solar concentrator applications using high efficiency nanostructures. DOE will provide up to $843,695 for the $1.1 million project. concentrated solar power is already a lot cheaper than PV solar.

Solexant, Inc. (Sunnyvale, CA) will seek to dramatically improve photovoltaics through inexpensive inorganic PV cell that harvest more than the conventional limit of maximum power efficiency. DOE will provide up to $869,435 of the $1.1 million project.

Soltaix, Inc. (Los Altos, CA) will seek to demonstrate and optimize an ultra-high-efficiency, thin-film, crystalline solar cell for cost-effective, grid-connected electricity. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for this $1.8 million project.

Stanford University (Stanford, CA) will use nanowire networks or meshes to create electrodes for high efficiency, low cost solution-processed photovoltaics. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for this $1.1 million project.

Stanford was also selected for a second project, in which researchers will produce advanced, higher efficiency thin-film solar cells from nanowires made of CIGS. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for this $1.1 million project.

Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ) project will seek to increase efficiency levels to 20% by developing new materials to improve tandem thin film solar cells. DOE will provide up to $895,511 for the $1.1 million project. Arizona State University was selected for another project, in which researchers will demonstrate the fundamental viability of replacing expensive materials used in today’s solar cells with less costly alternatives.

California Institute of Technology (Pasadena, CA) project will seek to enhance solar absorption using plasmons to improve the performance of PV cells. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for the $1.1 million project.

Mayaterials, Inc. (Ann Arbor, MI) project will seek to derive solar grade silicon from agricultural by-products. DOE will provide up to $837,000 for the $1 million project.

Penn State will seek to apply lessons learned from success with lithium ion batteries to develop dye-based sensitized solar cells with improved electrodes and electrolytes. DOE will provide up to $882,103 for the $1.1 million project. Penn State was selected for a second project, in which researchers will create PV devices from nanowires grown on inexpensive substrates like glass. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for the $1.1 million project.

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) project will seek to create solution processible, low cost tandem photovoltaics from inorganic nanorods (aligned for efficient energy collection) surrounded by organic polymers. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for his $1.1 million project.

University of Illinois (Urbana, IL) project will seek a low cost concentrator PV from automated printing and the interconnection of a large number of microcells with built-in optics. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for this $1.1 million project.

University of California, San Diego (La Jolla, CA) project will seek to produce high-efficiency photovoltaics that combine plasmonics and semiconductor nanostructures. DOE will provide up to $900,000 for this $1.1 million project.

Wakonda Technologies (Fairport, NY) will seek to apply low cost conventional thin film manufacturing techniques to the production of large area, high efficiency multi-junction PV. DOE will provide up to $892,735 for this $2.1 million project.

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