WHAT IS THE CHALLENGE?
All energy use has some kind of negative impact on the environment as a result of resource consumption and emissions of greenhouse gases and other substances that cause environmental and health problems. Long-term forecasts for the global energy system indicate that renewable energy sources could gradually replace oil, coal, gas and nuclear power over the next 50 years. Solar energy has a considerable potential.
HOW CAN THE PROGRAMME CONTRIBUTE TO A SOLUTION?
The aim is to create such a stable knowledge base that it will enable Swedish companies to participate on a wide front in the industrial utilisation of solar energy technology – a future inevitability. The conversion efficiency of solar cells must be high and their production cost-effective if the technology is to lead to a breakthrough in world energy production. Swedish research on thin-film technology has reached a status that may make such a breakthrough possible. ÅSC research focuses on:
- Thin-film solar cells (thin photovoltaic solar cells that produce electricity at a considerable lower cost than with the present Si technology). The electricity can either be used directly or to charge batteries. Silicon solar cells are already put to cost-effective use in remote areas and when the energy need is low. As well as being used in satellites, they can be found in lighthouses, radio stations, traffic lights and water pumps. In many developing countries, they also play an important role as a source of electricity for radios and televisions.
- Nanostructured solar cells (wet solar cells that generate electricity even in dim sunlight).
- Smart windows (windows that regulate the admission of sunlight and reduce the need for air-conditioning in houses with large glass façades).
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THE RESULTS?
Energy producers. The construction industry. Housing companies. Companies manufacturing electricity-dependent equipment and apparatus. Central, regional and local authorities responsible for energy and infrastructure issues.