Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics Receives Five-Year Funding Renewal

Professor Brian Korgel holding a solar cellThe National Science Foundation (NSF) has renewed its funding of the Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) for Next Generation Photovoltaics. The Center will receive base funding of $920,000 over the next five years from the NSF, matched by industry contributions of at least $1.75 million.

Directed by Texas ChE professor Brian Korgel, the Center researches ways to make photovoltaics electricity a major source of energy, focusing on the development of photovoltaic devices with unprecedented low-cost and high efficiency processing strategies and device structures. A key mission of the Center is to develop a sustainable energy ecosystem for the Austin area and the state of Texas.

The Center involves research at three universities, including UT Austin, Colorado State University and Texas A&M University. Since its establishment in 2011, The UT Austin site has pulled in more than $2 million in funding and has created technologies that are now being used by the industry. The Center performs research in collaboration with its 15 industry members, which include local companies like Applied Novel Devices, Novacentrix and Molecular Imprints, as well as industry-leader First Solar.

One of the main goals of the Center is to prepare undergraduate and graduate students to become leaders in the photovoltaics industry after receiving their degree. Many students have continued to work directly with center members following their graduation including Lucelo Techonologies, a company founded by two of Korgel’s former students and established from work done within the Center. The company has since become a member.

The NSF renewal ensures funding of the Center through 2020, at which point the its directors could decide to apply for a third phase of renewal from NSF.

For more information on the research conducted in the Center for Next Generation Photovoltaics, visit their website.

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