Solar-powered partnership

Mar 31, 2010

Arizona State University has established a partnership with the University of Tokyo, Japan, aimed at strengthening research and educational endeavors at both institutions to advance solar energy technology.

The University of Tokyo is rated by the Global University Ranking organization and others as one the leading universities and research institutions in Asia, and it is the leading solar-energy research institution in Japan.

Its Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology was recently awarded almost $100 million over a seven-year period from the government of Japan for the Solar Quest program on advanced photovoltaic design, said Stephen Goodnick, director of the Arizona Initiative for at ASU.

Photovoltaics is the field of that involves converting sunlight into electrical power.

Goodnick also is a professor in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, a part of ASU's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. At the invitation of the University of Tokyo, he and fellow ASU electrical and energy engineering professor Yong-Hang Zhang attended an international photovoltaics workshop last year in Japan. The idea for the partnership grew out of meetings Goodnick and Zhang had with Japanese colleagues during the conference.

Under the three-year partnership agreement, the two universities will collaborate on research projects, exchange educational information and materials, conduct joint lectures and symposia and exchange services of faculty members, research staff and students.

"It is our great pleasure to have concluded the partnership agreement with one of the most advanced research institutes in the United States in the field of renewable energy," said professor Yoshiaki Nakano, leader of the Solar Quest program. "We believe this will have a significant impact on our research progress at Solar Quest."

The universities' partnership, along with cooperative efforts by the governments of the United States and Japan, will help both countries "achieve far better solutions to our common challenges of producing renewable energy and protecting our environment," Nakano said.

At ASU, researchers with the Arizona Initiative for Renewable Energy, the Biodesign Institute and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering are involved in a wide range of efforts to make solar cell technology more efficient and affordable.

The partnership with the University of Tokyo "will greatly advance research in what is called third-generation photovoltaics, which seeks to make major improvements in the efficiency of solar electricity, leading to significant cost reductions," Goodnick says.

One of the first joint efforts of the partnership will be the study of high-efficiency, multi-junction solar cells, using compound semiconductor materials to optimize the absorption of the full solar spectrum.

Zhang says this type of cell could be used for generation both in space and for terrestrial applications in what is termed "concentrating photovoltaics," where sunlight is focused at up to 1,000 times its normal intensity onto such high-efficiency cells, reducing the cost of generating solar electricity.

This work is currently supported by the Science Foundation Arizona in partnership with Roger Angel at the University of Arizona.

A second project will involve joint research on intermediate-band solar cells to capture more photons from the solar spectrum, which will increase cell efficiency, Goodnick says.

Based on growing nanostructures such as quantum dots within the solar cell, this project will involve collaboration with Christiana Honsberg, director of the recently established Solar Power Laboratory at ASU.

Explore further: 'Wetting' a battery's appetite for renewable energy storage

More information: For more information on the Arizona Initiative for Renewable Energy, see: aire.asu.edu/index.shtml

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Canada awards $1.1M for energy projects

Nov 21, 2007

The Canadian government is investing in solar energy, awarding $1.1 million for projects promoting photovoltaic and solar thermal power technologies.

43 percent: New solar power world record

Aug 27, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Australian and US solar cell researchers have achieved the highest efficiency for solar power, setting a new world record of 43 per cent of sunlight converted into electricity.

Recommended for you

'Wetting' a battery's appetite for renewable energy storage

53 minutes ago

Sun, wind and other renewable energy sources could make up a larger portion of the electricity America consumes if better batteries could be built to store the intermittent energy for cloudy, windless days. Now a new material ...

New system to optimize public lighting power consumption

1 hour ago

In order to meet the efficiency requirements of the latest public lighting regulations, researchers from the School of Industrial Engineers of Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), in collaboration with ...

Many tongues, one voice, one common ambition

Jul 31, 2014

There is much need to develop energy efficient solutions for residential buildings in Europe. The EU-funded project, MeeFS, due to be completed by the end of 2015, is developing an innovative multifunctional and energy efficient ...

Panasonic, Tesla to build big US battery plant

Jul 31, 2014

(AP)—American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs.

Simulation models optimize water power

Jul 31, 2014

The Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest offers great potential for water power; hydroelectric power stations there generate over 20 000 megawatts already. Now a simulation model will help optimize the operation ...

User comments : 0