The project, which is part of the FP7-PEOPLE programme of the EU Commission, aims to develop a network for interdisciplinary training of researchers in advanced thin film PV technologies. The project will run until August 2016. The University of Luxembourg team lead by Professor Susanne Siebentritt, head of the Laboratory for Photovoltaics, Physics Research Unit, has joined the project and will examine the basic semiconductor physics of new materials used in solar cells.
Materials such as kesterites have high potential for the development of low cost thin film PV technologies. KESTCELLS aims to look into technologies that are based on kesterites and the development of efficient processes. The coming together of high level researchers will enable the further development of PV technologies research in Europe. The lack of professionals with these competencies has been identified as one of the main risks for the future development and consolidation of a competitive European PV sector.
"We are looking at developing PV technologies based on kesterite material, a mineral heavy in copper and zinc, to meet the cost, efficiency and sustainability requirements for mass production of solar cells needed for solar energy," explains Professor Siebentritt. "With this training network we can keep Europe on the path to being a leader in solar energy," she adds.
Twelve doctoral students and two postdocs will be trained for the duration of the project in complementary aspects related to fundamental materials science, advanced growth techniques in thin film technologies, techniques for advanced characterisation and process monitoring, modelling and design of devices, as well as aspects related to the innovation and industrial implementation of production lines and market analysis.