ECE Seminar Series

Title: Terawatt-Scale Photovoltaics: Trajectories and Challenges
Speaker: Dr. Nancy M. Haegel
Affiliation: Director, Materials Science Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Day: Thursday, August 24, 2017
Time: 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: LSC 372-374

Abstract: It is well understood and commonly cited that the solar energy resource significantly exceeds the world’s total energy consumption. However, despite dramatic advances in deployment and cost reduction, the vision of PV providing a significant fraction of global electricity generation—and ultimately, total energy demand— remains to be realized. In the near term, PV has a clear path for substantial growth. Longer term, the question remains whether PV will be able to provide a moderate (e.g., 20%, ~ 4 TW in 2030) or a large (e.g., 50%, ~ 10 TW in 2030) fraction of world electricity needs. Terawatt scale PV deployment is achievable with growth rates substantially below what the industry has achieved over the past decade. Material for this presentation will be drawn from The Terawatt Workshop and a resulting April 2017 publication in Science. Global leaders in PV came together to highlight the opportunity and discuss the challenges that could impede the vision of TW scale PV. These challenges include the continuing demand for improved efficiency and reliability, the required magnitude of capital expenditure, the need for a sustainable industry (both financially and environmentally), as well as needs for grid modernization and consistent policies to meet energy demand and enable greenhouse gas reduction and global prosperity based on a secure and sustainable energy system. Finally, we will discuss a novel approach to imaging charge transport using near field optics, one example of PV research at NREL that can address the remaining materials challenges as we push toward fundamental limits of solar cell performance.

Bio: Nancy M. Haegel is the Center Director for the Materials Science Center in the Materials and Chemical Sciences Directorate at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). She leads an organization of ~ 100 staff, associates and post-doctoral and graduate students providing fundamental and applied materials science discovery and problem-solving for current and next-generation renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies. Haegel joined NREL in 2014, after ten years at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey California, where she was a Distinguished Professor in the Physics Department. She has also been a faculty member at UCLA and Fairfield University. Dr. Haegel received her BS degree in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from the University of Notre Dame and a PhD in Materials Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests are in electronic materials and devices, with emphasis on transport characterization, high resistivity semiconductors and infrared imaging and detection. Her research has been supported by NSF, the Packard Foundation, NASA and ONR. Haegel is the author or co-author of ~ 130 publications and was the recipient of the 2004 American Physical Society (APS) Prize for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame and was a 2012 Fulbright Senior Scholar at Hebrew University in Jerusalem.