Lars Oberbeck and Katherine Alvino-Saavedra introducing IPVF Programme 1: techno-economic analyses and opportunities

21 février 2020
IPVF is a public-private partnership dedicated to accelerating energy transition through science & technology. The core values of IPVF are Excellence, Innovation, Collaboration. Its collaborative research brings together internationally recognized academic research teams and industrial leaders. It is structured into 6 programmes.

Programme 1 is dedicated to guiding the technological development of IPVF through techno-economic analyses, and identifying technological opportunities for industrialization.

Study market opportunities, calculate the cost of our solutions and limit our environmental impact

 To dynamically readjust our Technological Roadmap to the needs of the market, we continually must challenge ourselves. To achieve this, Program I analyses and quantifies, both economically and technologically, what is developed in our laboratories and then confronts it to market needs and opportunities.

 Therefore, Program I is a true compass for our Roadmap; and actively supports the other 5 programs. Within this project, Katherine Alvino Saavedra, from Bolivia, keeps assessing the photovoltaic market opportunities, and makes the link with our technological capabilities. 

How do you work on this program? What are your objectives?

The aim of this program is to provide information and advice to the other programs and to the research management and the direction on all aspects (economic, technical, environmental) of the photovoltaic market. This implies working with researchers with very specialized knowledge and synthetizing all provided information into the next steps of research and partnership. From our side, we investigate technologies deployed elsewhere in the world, and those that are most likely to reach industrialization. With this information, our colleagues can engage in research that has a strong impact and potential for technological disruption.

Within the program, there are three work packages. The first one calculates the costs of our solutions and their industrial viability. The second, for which I am in charge, aims at identifying the most relevant industrialization scheme, using a « techno-push » approach. The perovskite on silicon tandem modules are a good example of where we are applying this approach. A Life Cycle Assessment of the carbon footprint and other impact scores, recycling and eco-design aspects are also considered. Finally, the third Work Package studies the market opportunities on which we could position ourselves, this time using a « market-pull » approach.

How is your research going with your colleagues?

We organize weekly progress meetings, combined with work sessions with colleagues from my team and researchers involved in the other programs. Given the many exciting topics coming ahead, both on industrialization opportunities and environmental challenges,  our team is expected to grow on time.

 Why did you get involved in this IPVF program?

 I immediately liked it, I had been looking for an opportunity to work with tandem photovoltaic solar devices after my master studies, and it matched my search in the right moment. This vast and ambitious research program allows me to tackle many different subjects, analyze the market and carry out economic and environmental studies. Personally, I’m very committed to the environmental transition and I’m delighted to take part in programs that bring solutions compatible with it. Even though photovoltaics already have a significant global positive impact, we want to considerably improve it.

It’s great to work to reduce the environmental impact through engineering and scientific innovations. I give advice to my research colleagues, I discuss with them the use of this or that material and of course, I also learn a lot in return.

Program I provides advice to the other programs, as well as to the Research Management of IPVF.  It contributes to the other programs, but it’s also enriched from the diversity of the research teams. It’s also a great link between what’s blooming in our labs and what’s happening in the PV community.

How did you start in solar R&D?

I’m an industrial engineer and, in my country, Bolivia, I worked on technologies to limit their environmental impact. In France, I was able to study thanks to a scholarship from Total and Polytechnique. I did an internship at EDF and then I had the opportunity to join IPVF where I have been working for a year on the analysis of solar energy.

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