Saturday, April 11, 2009

Suntech teams with Swinburne University for next-generation cell research

06 April 2009 | By Síle Mc Mahon

Great strides in solar cell efficiency are the name of the game as Suntech has teamed up with an Australian university to focus on the development of solar cells that boast twice the efficiency but half the cost of conventional cells. Joining research forces with Swinburne University of Technology of Melbourne, Suntech’s CEO Dr. Zhengrong Shi will lead the collaborative effort with the University’s Centre for Micro-Photonics Director, Professor Min Gu (below right).

"The project will be based around the development of nanoplasmonic solar cells," said Professor Gu. This new technology allows for the efficient collection of solar energy in a wider colour range than those currently being developed in other laboratories. "These will be twice as efficient as the current generation of cells, and will also cost significantly less to run."

The collaborative research group will be based in Swinburne's new Advanced Technology Centre, a nearly-completed $130 million dollar development. Tapping Suntech’s manufacturing experience and Swinburne’s years of research expertise, the project is expected to yield the next-generation cells within the next five years.

Dr. Shi said, "This relationship will combine Swinburne's high quality research with Suntech's ability to rapidly commercialize new technologies into cost effective applications. Nanoplasmonic technology has the potential to take solar to the next level."

Funding will come in the form of a $3 million dollar contribution to the venture from Swinburne University, with a further $3 million coming from Suntech throughout the lifecycle of the research, and a tender for further funding being presented to the Victorian Government.

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