Berlin, Germany
Berlin, Germany

The Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy is a research centre and part of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. The institute carries out research into the structure and dynamics of novel materials and also investigates solar cell technology.Several large scale facilities are available, the most important of which are the 10 MW BER-II research reactor at the Lise Meitner campus in Wannsee and the 3rd generation BESSY synchrotron in Adlershof. The institute also specialises in research at high magnetic fields and low temperatures and is a world leader in providing sample environment for neutron scattering and physical property measurements.Both the reactor and synchrotron operate as user facilities. Due to the high competition for experiments, beam time is awarded after peer review of two page proposals which state the scientific case for each measurement. User groups are expected to run experiments on a 24-hour basis to maximise the use of the facility. Onsite guesthouses exist at both campuses. Wikipedia.

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Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-02-2014 | Award Amount: 6.15M | Year: 2015

Prime objective of the Sharc25 project is to develop super-high efficiency Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) solar cells for next generation of cost-beneficial solar module technology with the world leading expertise establishing the new benchmarks of global excellence. The project partners ZSW and EMPA hold the current CIGS solar cell efficiency world records of 21.7% on glass and 20.4% on polymer film, achieved by using high (~650C) and low (~450C) temperature CIGS deposition, respectively. Both have developed new processing concepts which open new prospects for further breakthroughs leading to paradigm shift for increased performance of solar cells approaching to the practically achievable theoretical limits. In this way the costs for industrial solar module production < 0.35/Wp and installed systems < 0.60/Wp can be achieved, along with a reduced Capex < 0.75/Wp for factories of >100 MW production capacity, with further scopes for cost reductions through production ramp-up. In this project the performance of single junction CIGS solar cells will be pushed from ~21% towards 25% by a consortium with multidisciplinary expertise. The key limiting factors in state-of-the-art CIGS solar cells are the non-radiative recombination and light absorption losses. Novel concepts will overcome major recombination losses: combinations of increased carrier life time in CIGS with emitter point contacts, engineered grain boundaries for active carrier collection, shift of absorber energy bandgap, and bandgap grading for increased tolerance of potential fluctuations. Innovative approaches will be applied for light management to increase the optical path length in the CIGS absorber and combine novel emitter, front contact, and anti-reflection concepts for higher photon injection into the absorber. Concepts of enhanced cell efficiency will be applied for achieving sub-module efficiencies of >20% and industrial implementation strategies will be proposed for the benefit of European industries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-01-2014 | Award Amount: 3.25M | Year: 2015

The aim of this proposal is to develop wide band gap thin film solar cells based on kesterite absorbers for future application in high efficiency and low cost tandem PV devices. The SWInG working group will focus both on the development of the processes for the synthesis of such solar cells based on the Cu2ZnXY4 (with X=Sn, Si and Y= S, Se) compounds and on the understanding of the physical and electrical properties of the high band gap absorber in order to reach high conversion efficiency. The key research challenges will be: developing up-scalable processes for the synthesis of the absorbers; defining the specifications for high quality wide band gap absorbers as well as suitable back contact and buffer/window layers; assessing the potential of this technology for PV applications. The wide band gap thin films solar cells developed in this project are expected to reach a stable efficiency of 15 % on a laboratory scale and 12 % for a mini-module prototype. The publications of specifications for the synthesis of high quality Cu2ZnXY4 absorber as well as suitable back/front contact are expected. The lead users will be PV modules manufacturers that work so far with thin films technologies, as well as the companies that design and produce the machines for the synthesis of such devices. The results will be disseminated and communicated to the European PV industries and the scientific community. The intensive exchange of researchers between the partners during the project will also lead to an enhanced European collaboration in the research field of thin film solar cells.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: LCE-07-2016-2017 | Award Amount: 5.67M | Year: 2016

The NextBase project, involving 8 research institutions and 6 companies, deals with the development of innovative high-performance c-Si solar cells and modules based on the interdigitated back-contacted silicon heterojunction (IBC-SHJ) solar cell concept targeting cells with efficiency above 26.0% and corresponding solar modules with efficiency above 22.0%. In particular, a number of new design and process innovations throughout the wafer, cell and module fabrication that go beyond the state-of-the-art will be introduced into the device to achieve the targeted efficiency values. At the same time, the NextBase project pursues the development of a new industrial manufacturing tool and low-cost processes for the IBC-SHJ solar cells enabling a competitive IBC-SHJ solar module cost of < 0.35 /Wp.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-CSA | Phase: ENERGY.2013.10.1.5 | Award Amount: 13.28M | Year: 2014

Europe has invoked the SET-Plan to design and implement an energy technology policy for Europe to accelerate the development and deployment of cost-effective renewable energy systems, including photovoltaics. With lower cost of solar electricity, PV could significantly contribute to the achievements of the 20-20-20 objectives. The Joint Program on PV of the European Energy Research Alliance (EERA-PV) aims to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of PV R&D through alignment and joint programming of R&D of its member institutes, and to contribute to the R&D-needs of the Solar Europe Industry Initiative. In CHEETAH, all EERA-PV members will, through collaborative R&D activities, (1) focus on solving specific bottlenecks in the R&D Joint Program of EERA-PV, (2) strengthen the collaboration between PV R&D performers in Europe through sharing of knowledge, personnel and facilities, and (3) accelerate the implementation of developed technologies in the European PV industry. Specifically, CHEETAH R&D will support Pillar A (performance enhancement & energy cost reduction) of the SEII Implementation Plan, through materials optimization and performance enhancement. CHEETAHs objectives are threefold: 1) Developing new concepts and technologies for wafer-based crystalline silicon PV (modules with ultra-thin cells), thin-film PV (advanced light management) and organic PV (very low-cost barriers), resulting in (strongly) reduced cost of materials and increased module performance; 2) Fostering long-term European cooperation in the PV R&D sector, by organizing workshops, training of researchers, efficient use of infrastructures; 3) Accelerating the implementation of innovative technologies in the PV industry, by a strong involvement of EPIA and EIT-KIC InnoEnergy in the program It is the ambition of CHEETAH to develop technology and foster manufacturing capabilities so that Europe can regain and build up own manufacturing capacity in all parts of the value chain in due time.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: FCH2-RIA | Phase: FCH-02-3-2016 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2017

The objective of the project PECSYS is the demonstration of a system for the solar driven electrochemical hydrogen generation with an area >10 m. The efficiency of the system will be >6% and it will operate for six month showing a degradation below <10%. Therefore, the consortium will test various established PV materials (thin-film Silicon, crystalline Silicon and CIGS) as well as high potential material combinations (Perovskite/Silicon). It will study and develop innovative device concepts for integrated photoelectrochemical devices that will go far beyond the current state of the art and will allow to reduce Ohmic transport losses in the electrolyte and membranes. The best concepts will be scaled up to prototype size (>100 cm) and will be subject to extensive stability optimization. Especially, the use of innovative ALD based metal oxide sealing layers will be studied. The devices will have the great advantage compared to decoupled systems that they will have reduced Ohmic transport losses. Another advantage for application in sunny, hot regions will be that these devices have a positive temperature coefficient, because the improvements of the electrochemical processes overcompensate the reduced PV conversion efficiency. With these results, an in-depth socio-techno-economic model will be developed to predict the levelized cost of hydrogen production, which will be below 5/Kg Hydrogen in locations with high solar irradiation, as preliminary back of the envelope calculations have revealed. Based on these findings, the most promising technologies will be scaled to module size. The final system will consist of several planar modules and will be placed in Jlich. No concentration or solar tracking will be necessary and therefore the investment costs will be low. It will have an active area >10 m and will produce more than 10 Kg of hydrogen over six month period.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: INFRADEV-4-2014-2015 | Award Amount: 12.08M | Year: 2015

Todays society is being transformed by new materials and processes. Analytical techniques underpin their development and neutrons, with their unique properties, play a pivotal role in a multi-disciplinary, knowledge-based approach. Industry and the neutron research community must however work together more closely to enhance their innovation potential. Neutrons are only available at large scale facilities (LSFs), presenting specific challenges for outreach. National and European initiatives have combined to create a user community of almost 10000, mainly academia-based users, which is supported by an ecosystem of about 10, often world-class national facilities and the European facility, the Institute Laue Langevin. Europe leads neutron science and is investing almost 2B in the European Spallation Source (ESS), its construction, like Horizon 2020, spanning the period 2014-2020. SINE2020, world-class Science and Innovation with Neutrons in Europe in 2020, is therefore a project with two objectives; preparing Europe for the unique opportunities at ESS in 2020 and developing the innovation potential of neutron LSFs. Common services underpin the European research area for neutrons. New and improved services will be developed in SINE2020, by the LSFs and partners in 13 countries, in a holistic approach including outreach, samples, instrumentation and software. These services are the key to integrating ESS in the European neutron ecosystem, ensuring scientific success from day one. They are also the basis for facilitating direct use of neutron LSFs by industry. Particular emphasis is placed on the industry consultancy, which will reach out to industry and develop a business model for direct, industry use of LSFs in 2020, and data treatment, exploiting a game-changing opportunity at LSFs to adopt a common software approach in the production of scientific results.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: FETOPEN-1-2014 | Award Amount: 3.87M | Year: 2015

In DIACAT we propose the development of a completely new technology for the direct photocatalytic conversion of CO2 into fine chemicals and fuels using visible light. The approach utilises the unique property of man-made diamond, now widely available at low economic cost, to generate solvated electrons upon light irradiation in solutions (e.g. in water and ionic liquids). The project will achieve the following major objectives on the way to the efficient production of chemicals from CO2 : - experimental and theoretical understanding of the principles of production of solvated electrons stemming from diamond - identification of optimal forms of nanostructured diamond (wires, foams pores) and surface modifications to achieve high photoelectron yield and long term performance - investigation of optimized energy up-conversion using optical nearfield excitation as a means for the direct use of sunlight for the excitation of electrons -characterisation of the chemical reactions which are driven by the solvated electrons in green solvents like water or ionic liquids and reaction conditions to maximise product yields. - demonstration of the feasibility of the direct reduction of CO2 in a laboratory environment. The ultimate outcome of the project will be the development of a novel technology for the direct transformation of CO2 into organic chemicals using illumination with visible light. On a larger perspective, this technology will make an important contribution to a future sustainable chemical production as man-made diamond is a low cost industrial material identified to be environmentally friendly. Our approach lays the foundation for the removal and transformation of carbon dioxide and at the same time a chemical route to store and transport energy from renewable sources. This will have a transformational impact on society as whole by bringing new opportunities for sustainable production and growth.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: NMBP-03-2016 | Award Amount: 6.22M | Year: 2017

STARCELL proposes the substitution of CRMs in thin film PV by the development and demonstration of a cost effective solution based on kesterite CZTS (Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4) materials. Kesterites are only formed by elements abundant in the earth crust with low toxicity offering a secure supply chain and minimizing recycling costs and risks, and are compatible with massive sustainable deployment of electricity production at TeraWatt levels. Optimisation of the kesterite bulk properties together with redesign and optimization of the device interfaces and the cell architecture will be developed for the achievement of a challenging increase in the device efficiency up to 18% at cell level and targeting 16% efficiency at mini-module level, in line with the efficiency targets established at the SET Plan for 2020. These efficiencies will allow initiating the transfer of kesterite based processes to pre-industrial stages. These innovations will give to STARCELL the opportunity to demonstrate CRM free thin film PV devices with manufacturing costs 0.30 /Wp, making first detailed studies on the stability and durability of the kesterite devices under accelerated test analysis conditions and developing suitable recycling processes for efficient re-use of material waste. The project will join for the first time the 3 leading research teams that have achieved the highest efficiencies for kesterite in Europe (EMPA, IMRA and IREC) together with the group of the world record holder David Mitzi (Duke University) and NREL (a reference research centre in renewable energies worldwide) in USA, and AIST (the most renewed Japanese research centre in Energy and Environment) in Japan. These groups have during the last years specialised in different aspects of the solar cell optimisation and build the forefront of kesterite research. The synergies of their joined efforts will allow raising the efficiency of kesterite solar cells and mini-modules to values never attained for this technology.


Ellmer K.,Helmholtz Center Berlin
Nature Photonics | Year: 2012

Transparent conductive electrodes play important roles in information and energy technologies. These materials, particularly transparent conductive oxides, are widely used as transparent electrodes across technical fields such as low-emissivity coatings, flat-panel displays, thin-film solar cells and organic light-emitting diodes. This Review begins by summarizing the properties and applications of transparent conductive oxides such as In 2 O 3, SnO 2, ZnO and TiO 2. Owing to the increasing demand for raw materials - especially indium - scientists are currently searching for alternatives to indium tin oxide. Carbon nanotube and metal nanowire networks, as well as regular metal grids, have been investigated for use as transparent conductive electrodes. This Review compares these materials and the recently 'rediscovered' graphene with today's established transparent conductive oxides. © 2012 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-COG | Phase: ERC-CoG-2014 | Award Amount: 1.99M | Year: 2015

The catalysis by metal nanoparticles is one of the fastest growing areas in nanoscience due to our societys exploding need for fuels, drugs, and environmental remediation. However, the optimal control of catalytic activity and selectivity remains one of the grand challenges in the 21st century. Here, I propose to theoretically derive design rules for the optimization of nanoparticle catalysis by means of thermosensitive yolk-shell carrier systems. In the latter, the nanoparticle is stabilized in solution by an encapsulating, thermosensitive hydrogel shell. The physicochemical properties of this polymeric nanogate react to stimuli in the environment and thus permit the reactant transport and the diffusion-controlled part of the catalytic reaction to be switched and tuned, e.g., by the temperature or the pH. The novel hybrid character of these emerging nanoreactors opens up unprecedented ways for the control of nanocatalysis due to new designable degrees of freedom. The complex mechanisms behind stimuli-responsive nanocatalysis call for a concerted, interdisciplinary modelling approach that has converged in my group in the recent years. In particular, it can only be achieved by combining my expertise in multiscale computer simulations of solvated polymers with the statistical and continuum mechanics of soft matter structures and dynamics. The key challenge is to integrate the molecular solvation effects and our growing knowledge of hydrogel mechanics and thermodynamics into advanced reaction-diffusion equations for a quantitative rate prediction. In addition, I envision exciting novel phenomena such as a chemo-mechanical self-regulated catalysis or an amplifying resonant catalysis, if hydrogel response and fluctuations couple to the chemical output signal. The expected results and design principles will help our collaborators to synthesize tailor-made, superior nanocatalysts and will advance our understanding of their structure-reactivity relationship.

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