MechE Colloquium: Photovoltaics: from research and records to mass market


Event details

Date 18.10.2022
Hour 12:0013:00
Speaker Prof. Christophe Ballif, Photovoltaics and Thin Film Electronics Laboratory (PV-lab), EPFL, and CSEM Sustainable Energy Center Neuchâtel
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Abstract: In the first part of the presentation, we will show how photovoltaics (PV) is on its way to become the primary electricity source, and possibly the primary energy source by 2050-2060, based on improvements in terms of performance, material usage and energy pay-back time, and of course market demand and decarbonisation needs. Then, we’ll discuss further evolution of the silicon technology (95% of the market), in particular when using silicon cells with various types passivating contacts, which allow for a significant voltage increase of the solar cells. We’ll illustrate the trend with some of the work performed by EPFL and CSEM in Neuchâtel, part of it implemented now in new European solar cells and module production lines. We will comment on how the efficiency learning curve could be extended, in particular with the approach of tandem perovskite/silicon solar cells, where EPFL and CSEM recently achieved a certified laboratory cell efficiency of 31.3%. Finally, we will present many examples showing how photovoltaics goes well beyond standard applications, with the emergence of “transformative PV” for the building sector or of specialty modules applied in mobility or stratospheric applications.

Biography: Prof. Christophe Ballif is director of the Photovoltaics and Thin-Film Electronics Laboratory @ EPFL and of the Sustainable Energy Center @CSEM and, which specializes in research and technology transfer along the value chain of photovoltaics and energy systems. With his teams, he has contributed to numerous innovations, products and start-up in the field of photovoltaics and energy (PV) and collaborates with close to 40 companies in Switzerland and worldwide. His current research and industrialization interests include materials and manufacturing processes for PV, high-efficiency crystalline and perovskite solar cells, module technology and reliability, specialty PV products for building integration or mobility, as well as all aspects linked to storage and management of energy systems. He is (co-) author of more than 600 scientific papers and of numerous patents. In 2016, he received the prestigious Becquerel award for his contribution to the field of Photovoltaics and he is an elected member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free



MechE Colloquium: Photovoltaics: from research and records to mass market