Semiconductor nanomaterials for solar energy conversion
Program or topic
Semiconductor nanomaterials for solar energy conversion.
Department(s) or unit(s)
Tobias Hanrath, Assistant Professor
Exploit the unique properties of nanoscale materials for more efficient solar energy conversion and storage.
In light of steadily increasing global energy demands, the impending scarcity of easily recoverable fossil fuels and growing concerns about CO2 emissions, identifying and exploiting renewable energy sources is an increasingly urgent endeavor.
Solar energy is by far the most abundant and widely available sustainable energy source, exceeding current and projected global energy needs by orders of magnitude. Despite the immense potential of solar energy, continued improvements in conversion efficiency and the near exponential growth of photovoltaics production volume, the current installed base of solar power is less than 1%. Broad deployment of solar energy technology is ultimately contingent upon reducing the price per kWh from solar energy by at least a factor of five.
This goal is unlikely to be achieved with evolutionary improvements of current technology, but instead underscores the need for the development of technologies that enable revolutionary changes in solar energy conversion. We see many opportunities for nanoscale materials to contribute towards the development of cost-effective solar energy conversion technologies.
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