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European research project to boost solar cell efficiency

February 13, 2012 // Nicolas Mokhoff

European research project to boost solar cell efficiency

A three-year European research project aims to push solar-cell efficiency towards 25 percent and reduce power conversion losses by 20 percent.

A three-year European research project aims to push solar-cell efficiency towards 25 percent and reduce power conversion losses by 20 percent.

The project is set to meet Europe’s 2020 climate targets and general energy policies.

The ERG program is set to improve the efficiency of solar cells, devise innovative harvesting techniques, reduce power-conversion losses, and enhance energy-management strategies.

European researchers will focus on the design and development of innovative solar cells that includes printable dye-sensitized solar cells as a low-cost alternative to silicon solutions.

The project partners will also research novel power-management techniques for silicon-cell panels that track the maximum power point to boost output from solar arrays and improve power-conversion efficiency at the module and segment levels.

ERG will also generate behavioral models for individual components of the smart grid with optimal energy-dispatching and battery-charging algorithms based on inputs from wireless sensor nodes distributed across the network.

“ERG’s goal is to achieve significant efficiency improvements along the whole supply chain from PV panels to grid connection and make them available to all partners,” said ERG project coordinator Francesco Gennaro, a Staff Engineer at STMicroelectronics, in a statement.

The 27 partners of the so-called ERG JU includes semiconductor makers Infineon Technologies, NXP Semiconductors, ON Semiconductor, STMicroelectronics, and solar panel manufacturers Applied Materials and Power Tech, as well as European industry and academic research organizations.

The ENIAC (European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council) Joint Undertaking (JU) is a public-private partnership on nanoelectronics made up of ENIAC member States, the European Union, and AENEAS (representing European nanoelectronics R&D entities).

The total cost of the project is €25.7 million (about $34 million), partially funded through a combination of European and national grants from Italy, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Slovak Republic and United Kingdom.

The ENIAC JU was set up in February 2008 and allocates grants throughout 2013. Funded projects need to be completed by end of 2017. The total value of the R&D activities generated through the ENIAC JU is estimated at 3 B€ (almost $4 billion).

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