Photovoltaics Workshop at Monash University

Group photo of workshop participants following the first day of plenary talks. (Photo credits: Dr. Canek Fuentes Hernandez)

Mr Khaled Al Kurdi, PhD Candidate from Georgia Tech, presenting his summer research at the poster session. Khaled was one of four participants in the Georgia Tech - Monash University Researcher Exchange program. (Photo credits: Dr. Giovanni DeLuca)

On 12-13 December 2019, Monash University held an international workshop on photovoltaic technology. The Photovoltaics Workshop at Monash University was co-sponsored by Monash University Office of the Vice-Provost (Research), the Monash Energy Institute, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics.

This workshop brought together researchers working on organic/polymer, silicon, and perovskite solar cells, featuring domestic and international guest speakers from 8 universities, as well as CSIRO and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Over 100 public and private solar energy enthusiasts attended the 2 day workshop, including 19 speakers from 4 continents, and 40 poster presenters. Researchers were able to showcase their research, and initiate communication between other institutions working with closely related photovoltaic technologies. Additionally, researchers were able to discuss ways to develop capabilities in renewable energy by optimisation of resources through the sharing of equipment and research facilities, databases and personnel.

Professor Seth Marder presenting his talk titled: "Opportunities for Collaborative Interactions on materials for Solar Cells." (Photo credits: Dr. Giovanni DeLuca).

Professor Tequila A. L. Harris, Associate Professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, at Georgia Institute of Technology and the Deputy Director of Manufacturing for the Center on Compact and Efficient Fluid Power, mentioned: “The workshop was useful in that it provided real insights into some of the challenges and opportunities related to perovskites research and development. Though we do not process these materials in my lab, I believe that we have a set of manufacturing techniques that are useful for the field.” Since the workshop, Professor Harris has already developed one collaboration, and has three more in sight. The workshop was well-received by organisations domestically and abroad.

Dr Fahmida N. Chowdhury, Program Director with the National Science Foundation Office of International Science and Engineering, stated: “The National Science Foundation believes that in order to fully participate in today's global science and engineering enterprise, graduate students (and their research mentors) from different countries and cultures should interact and build professional networks in international collaborative environments. It is great to know that you are hosting this workshop at Monash University. This workshop definitely contributes toward that goal. I wish you and your team great success in this workshop and in all your future ventures.”

Sights on future prospect: Professor Seth Marder, director for the Georgia Tech Center for the Science and Technology of Advanced Materials and Interfaces (STAMI) and the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE) stated, “The workshop also enables this international team to create the foundation for and track record of collaboration for each of our institutions to develop either independent or joint proposals that leverage the strength of our scientific and personal relationships that we have built through this endeavor.”

Prof. Jacek Jasieniak, Director of the Monash Energy Institute, stated: “Developing next generation solar cells requires the best minds from across the globe coming together to mutually learn what works and what doesn’t across the various solar cell technologies. This workshop brought together key photovoltaic researchers from across Australia and Georgia Tech in the USA to do just that. I am excited by the fact that this was just the start, as I see many fruitful collaborations emerging from the event.”

Dr Alexandr N. Simonov, Monash University School of Chemistry, commented: “Solar power is the “coal” of the future for Australia, and we do need to harvest it efficiently. While our research in photovoltaics is world-class, this would be never possible without sharing knowledge and collaborating with research leaders from other countries. The joint initiative between GeorgiaTech and Monash is one of the best examples of such collaboration that leads to innovation and technological breakthroughs.”

Prof. Udo Bach, organiser of the workshop, stated: "Since joining Monash University 15 years ago I cannot remember a comparable gathering of world-class solar cell researchers at our university. This event provided ample opportunity to learn, network and collaborate, building the foundations for strong sustainable research ties with our US partners".

For further information:

Please contact Prof. Udo Bach for additional information on the Photovoltaics Workshop at Monash University and the Georgia Tech – Monash University Network.