19 February 2010


Colorado’s CRSP funds 10 solar projects

The second round of Shared Research Program funding of the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory's Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion (CRSP) — which is dedicated to research on creating new solar energy technologies as well as educational and training opportunities — has selected 10 pre-competitive solar research projects (from a total of 27 proposals) for funding totaling $800,000.

“These projects were jointly selected by the science co-directors at CRSP and representatives from our member companies in order to tackle basic and applied research bottlenecks regarding cutting-edge solar photoconversion for electricity and fuels,” says CRSP's scientific director Dr Craig Taylor. “The research underpins renewable energy technologies [third-generation solar photon conversion] for the highly efficient and cost-competitive production of both electricity and fuels via direct solar processes,” he said.

The 10 projects include eight new research proposals and two renewals of projects funded last year. Since its inception in April 2008, CRSP has funded two rounds of shared research projects totaling $2m, boosting solar research in Colorado. Finances come from CRSP corporate members and matching funds from the Collaboratory via the State of Colorado.   

The four research institutions that have received awards are Colorado State University (CSU), the Colorado School of Mines (CSM), the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) and the US Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO.

CRSP currently involves the firms Abengoa Solar PV, Applied Materials, Ascent Solar Technologies (which makes CIGS solar modules), DuPont, Evident Technologies, G24 Innovations, General Motors, Konarka, Lockheed Martin, Motech Industries, Sharp, Tokyo Electron, Toyota and ZettaSun.

CRSP corporate members receive access to non-exclusive licenses to any resulting intellectual property from the Shared Research Program, which is designed to leverage new intellectual property into large-scale research for CRSP member companies and CRSP researchers.  The CRSP Sponsored Research Program allows for proprietary research between a CRSP member company and selected CRSP researchers.

In the latest round of funding, the 10 selected shared research projects and their principal investigators are:

  • Inorganic materials and novel device architectures for advanced solar cells 
  1. Joseph Beach of Colorado School of Mines, 'Transparent Back Contacts to Enable Novel Architectures in Advanced CdTe and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Solar Cells';
  2. Amy Prieto of Colorado State University, 'Optimizing Cu2ZnSnS4-based Photovoltaic Devices: Characterizing Films Made From Nanoparticle Inks for their Application in Inexpensive and Scalable Thin Film Photovoltaics';    
  3. Rafael Piestun of University of Colorado at Boulder, '3D Plasmonic Nanostructures for Novel Electromagnetic Energy Conversion Devices and Systems'.
  • Novel organic/polymeric/hybrid inorganic-organic solar cells
  1. Steve George of University of Colorado at Boulder, 'Gas Diffusion Barriers for Thin Film Solar Devices Using Atmospheric Atomic Layer Deposition';
  2. Josef Michl of University of Colorado at Boulder, 'Boron-Based Polymers (new hole conducting polymers for DSSC)'.            
  • Third-generation PV
  1. Matt Shores of Colorado State University and Niels Damrauer of University of Colorado at Boulder, 'New Materials and Time Resolved Measurements for Optimizing Hole-Transfer Photochemistry';
  2. Sumit Agarwal of Colorado School of Mines, 'Novel Nanoparticle Superlattices for Space-Separated Quantum Cutting';        
  3. Joel Eaves of University of Colorado at Boulder, 'Multiexcitons in Quantum Nanostructures: From Theory to Design'.
  • Solar fuels
  1. Gordana Dukovic of University of Colorado at Boulder, 'Synthesis of Nanoscale Oxy(nitrides) for Solar Water Splitting';           
  2. Colin Wolden of Colorado School of Mines, 'Electrochemical Synthesis of Catalysts for Photoelectrolysis and Conformal TCO Deposition'.

CRSP also is building its Federally Funded Research Program by pursuing grants to support large-scale basic or applied research to further advance solar energy technology and its commercialization in the marketplace. 

Last year, CRSP announced the first two elements to its federal program, including participation in a US DOE Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) and National Science Foundation (NSF) Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (REMRSEC). The EFRC will generate more than $1m per year for five years in research funding in Colorado (principally at and led by NREL) and includes matching funding from the Collaboratory. The REMRSEC is led by CSM and is the first renewable energy center funded by NSF. 

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