International cooperation for the development of kesterite/c-Si thin film tandems

  • Energy and environment

The INFINITE-CELL project aimed to establish and consolidate an international and intersectoral cooperation between 7 Academic European and Associated Countries Institutions (IREC [Spain], SINTEF AS [Norway], CNRS [France], UAM [Spain], IAP [Moldova], HZB [Germany], UPC [Spain]), 2 European Companies (SunGa [Moldova], MET [Lithuania]), and 4 Third Country partners (1 foundation (MAScIR [Morocco]), and 3 Academic Institutions (BSUIR [Belarus], UM5 [Morocco], UWC [South Africa])), for the sustainable development of cost-efficient advanced photovoltaic tandem devices, based on the combination of wide band-gap kesterite technologies as top cell, and low cost silicon thin film ones as bottom cell, thanks to the collaborative combination of the know-how and partnership generated in two previous and successful FP7 projects: PVICOKEST (269167) and EUROSUNMED (608593). The consortium has included relevant world reference groups in both kesterite and thin film Si technologies coming from both academic and industry fields.

Today, April 25th 2023, the project held an online final meeting, during which the WP leaders with the help of all partners summarize the main results achieved in the project. These have included the development of novel approaches for the fabrication of Si-based thin film solar cells, as well as the achievement of relevant advances in the fabrication of wide band gap kesterite solar cells onto transparent substrates. The intense research program has allowed to identify the main challenges for the further development of competitive very low cost and high efficiency thin film tandem technologies. All these were supported by an advanced investigation of the fundamental properties of the new compounds synthesized during the project development, as well as of the optoelectronic properties of the devices based on them. Taking into account the results of the advanced characterization, a realistic simulation of the performance of tandem devices developed in framework of INFINITE-CELL was made, allowing to better understand the fundamental limitations of this promising technology and to propose further steps to reach the competitive prices for the sustainable energy production.

The main results of the intensive collaboration between different partners can be found in more than 30 research articles published with Gold or Green Open Access, and uploaded to the Zenodo repository. The results were also presented in more than 20 relevant international conferences and workshops in the photovoltaic and materials science field. Moreover, different partners of the project have organized numerous workshops and participated in several scientific events with the main aim to present the project results to general audience in a clear and attractive way.

The Solar Energy Materials and Systems group from IREC, as a coordinator of INFINITE-CELL project, contributed to the management of its main tasks which included an ambitious plan of more than 290 PM of intersectoral and international secondments, from which close to 90 % have been implemented, allowing to strengthen the contacts between different partners and leading to the successful achievement of the main project goals. Moreover, IREC has been strongly involved in the development of novel solutions for the photovoltaic devices based on wide band gap kesterites and in the advanced characterization of new materials and devices providing valuable insights to the consortium as well as to whole research community.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 777968.