£5m solar power research centre to be based at Bath University

November 27, 2013

The University of Bath is to become a major UK research base for sustainable solar power technology, adding to its world-class academic credentials and boosting the West of England’s reputation as the country’s leading hub for green technologies.

The university will house one of two national centres for doctoral training geared towards investigating solar PV (photovoltaic) technologies. The other centre will be at the University of Liverpool.

The two will head a Government-funded research project to develop more sustainable solar PV technology.

The centres will receive £5m to fund new PhD students to investigate solar photovoltaic technologies that are competitive enough to withstand market fluctuations, but sustainable in terms of the raw materials and manufacturing methods used.

Projects already identified include working with nanotechnology, low-temperature processing and photon engineering, and enhancements to emerging technology.

Industrial partners will also take part in the research at the new centre and Bath and Liverpool will lead a consortium which includes BAE Systems, Eight19, Echerkon, LSA Ltd, MSolv, NSG, SiliconCPV, Ossila, Oxford PV, PowerVision and Taylor Hobson.  The universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Sheffield and Southampton will play smaller roles.

Centre lead for the University of Bath, Prof Alison Walker, said: “The centre’s students will understand fundamentals across all the relevant disciplines, gain state-of-the-art knowledge and get to grips with challenges associated with photovoltaic devices, scale-up and systems. Above all they will be able to engage in leading-edge interdisciplinary research and will be able to seek employment as potential leaders in PV which is a rapidly expanding sector.”

Professor Ken Durose from the University of Liverpool added: “Solar energy needs to become more efficient and more sustainable and it is through PhD research that this objective can be achieved. The PhD graduates will go on to become the future leaders of the field. This funding coupled with the industry support, will provide a significant boost to the skills and knowledge base in the sector.”

The Government is investing £350m overall through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council is what is the UK’s largest investment in postgraduate training in engineering and physical sciences.

It will fund 70 new centres for doctoral training spread across 24 UK universities.

The university's existing centres in sustainable chemical technologies and digital entertainment have been awarded funding under the scheme for a further eight years to continue their outstanding and innovative training programmes while it will also take partnership roles in the national centres in water research, led by the University of Exeter, and catalysis research, led by Cardiff University.


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