SUNRISE: Semiconductors Using Nanostructures for Record Increases in Solar-cell Efficiency
The Canadian Centre for Housing Technology is participating with the National Research Council Canada Institute for Research in Construction (NRC-IRC) and Institute for Microstructural Sciences (NRC-IMS), University of Ottawa, Université de Sherbrooke, Cyrium Technologies Inc. and Opel International Inc. in the project "Semiconductors Using Nanostructures for Record Increases in Solar-cell Efficiency".
While solar cells already generate emission-free electricity in many remote locations in Canada, they are not yet cost-effective as the primary source of electricity in homes and businesses already connected to the electrical grid. To address this problem, the proposed research will develop a new class of solar cells up to 10% more efficient than existing technology, potentially making solar cells far more attractive for widespread use.
The solar cells will be based on artificial atoms called quantum dots made on crystalline semiconductor surfaces. Using nanotechnology, researchers at the National Research Council (NRC) and the Université de Sherbrooke will work in collaboration with one of our industrial partners to control the structure of the quantum dots to absorb light from the sun far more efficiently than existing solar cell technology. University of Ottawa researchers will analyze and model the solar cells to help optimize their design.
The SUNRISE system began supplying power to the house on sunny days beginning in October 2010 (photo by: Harry Turner).
Researchers at the University of Ottawa and industrial partners will integrate the optimized solar cells into a concentrator to boost solar intensity up to 500 times. The performance of the integrated assembly will be evaluated in real-world conditions at the CCHT twin house facility.
The proposed research will seed a vertically-integrated industrial capability in Canada to produce high-efficiency solar cells and concentrator systems. It will immediately provide receptor companies with marketable technology. In addition, it will help train a new generation of scientists and engineers to take a leadership role in developing and commercializing advanced semiconductor and environmentally-friendly energy technology
Funding for this project was provided by: National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)
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