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Mirage maker

last modified Jan 28, 2016 11:57 AM

Connecting many researchers, chemists, physicists and engineers, the APEX project is an ambitious Anglo-Indian initiative to turn fundamental advances in solar materials into commercial reality. APEX involves research institutes in Bangalore, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kanpur and Pune in India, and Brunel (which leads the partnership), Cambridge, Edinburgh, Imperial, Swansea and Oxford in the UK, plus solar industries in both countries. It has received almost £6 million funding since 2010 from the Indian Department of Science and Technology and Research Councils UK.

The APEX team started by focusing on developing a new class of ‘excitonic’ solar cell (which produces electricity from the sun’s energy through the creation of an ‘exciton’ – essentially a free electron). Instead of using the conventional solar material, silicon, the researchers used solar materials made from organic dyes – dye-sensitised solar cells (DSSCs) – which are easy to make, easy to process and cost less.

India could be an ideal place to adopt new solar technologies on a large scale, says Professor Richard Friend, University of Cambridge: “India is already currently running the largest renewable capacity expansion programme in the world, and there is a sense that the next technology revolutions may well happen in an emerging country like India that hasn’t already built its future renewables-heavy electricity system.”

Read further at the University of Cambridge Spotlight on Energy. 



Image credit: H. Raab