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US solar centre funds research

The Center for Revolutionary Solar Photoconversion (CRSP) has funded 10 advanced solar research projects totaling US$800,000 in its second round of Shared Research Program funding.

The pre-competitive solar projects include 8 new research proposals and two renewals for projects that were funded last year. Since its inception in April 2008, CRSP has funded two rounds of shared solar research projects totaling US$2m, providing a boost to advanced solar research in the state of Colorado.

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

Funding for the solar research programme comes from corporate members of CRSP and matching funds from the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory, of which CRSP is a research centre. The collaboratory is dedicated to the basic and applied research necessary to create "revolutionary" solar energy technologies as well as educational and training opportunities.

The 10 solar research projects were selected from a total of 27 proposals, says CRSP Scientific Director Craig Taylor. “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.”

"The research underpins renewable energy technologies, commonly called third-generation solar photon conversion, for the highly efficient and cost-competitive production of both electricity and fuels via direct solar processes," he adds.

The selected projects include:

  • Transparent Back Contacts to Enable Novel Architectures in Advanced CdTe and Cu(In,Ga)Se2 Solar Cells;
  • Optimising Cu2ZnSnS4-based Photovoltaic Devices: Characterising Films Made From Nanoparticle Inks for their Application in Inexpensive and Scalable Thin-Film Photovoltaics;
  • 3D Plasmonic Nanostructures for Novel Electromagnetic Energy Conversion Devices and Systems;
  • Gas Diffusion Barriers for Thin-Film Solar Devices Using Atmospheric Atomic Layer Deposition;
  • Boron-Based Polymers (new hole conducting polymers for DSSC);
  • New Materials and Time Resolved Measurements for Optimising Hole-Transfer Photochemistry;
  • Novel Nanoparticle Superlattices for Space-Separated Quantum Cutting;
  • Multiexcitons in Quantum Nanostructures: From Theory to Design;
  • Synthesis of Nanoscale Oxy(nitrides) for Solar Water Splitting;
  • Electrochemical Synthesis of Catalysts for Photoelectrolysis and Conformal TCO Deposition.

Separate Programme with Konarka

Separately, CRSP also launched its first Sponsored Research Program effort as a project between Konarka Technologies and Colorado State University. The project involves Konarka and CSU for an undisclosed funding amount to advance carbon fullerene nanostructures.

The project evolves from related work originally funded by CRSP in its inaugural Shared Research Program round of funding in 2009. Konarka develops and manufactures solar plastic films.


Fourteen companies belong to CRSP: Abengoa Solar PV, Applied Materials, Ascent Solar Technologies, DuPont, Evident Technologies, G24 Innovations, General Motors, Konarka, Lockheed Martin, Motech Industries, Sharp, Tokyo Electron, Toyota and ZettaSun. These corporate members receive access to non-exclusive licenses to any resulting intellectual property from the Shared Research Program.

CRSP 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 commercialisation in the marketplace. 

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Photovoltaics (PV)  •  Solar electricity