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UNSW’s Green Awarded Global Energy Prize

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Martin Green, a professor at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, has become the first Australian to win the Global Energy Prize for his research, development, and educational activities in the field of photovoltaics.

UNSW Sydney Scientia Professor Martin Green, a solar energy pioneer and a winner of the 2018 Global Energy Prize. Courtesy of UNSW.
Martin Green, Scientia Professor at University of New South Wales Sydney, is a solar energy pioneer and winner of the 2018 Global Energy Prize. Courtesy of UNSW.

The annual Global Energy Prize honors outstanding achievements in research and technology that are addressing the world's pressing energy challenges. It is presented each year by the president of the Russian Federation.

Green, who is director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics at UNSW, was honored for having "revolutionized the efficiency and costs of solar photovoltaics, making this now the lowest cost option for bulk electricity supply.” He was selected from 44 contenders from 14 countries by a committee of leading scientists and shares the $820,000 prize this year with Russian scientist Sergey Alekseenko, an expert in thermal power engineering.

Green is a specialist in both monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon solar cells. The research group he founded in UNSW’s engineering department is the largest university-based photovoltaic research group in the world.

The enormous reductions in costs in photovoltaic solar systems in recent years is directly related to his scientific efforts, largely through the work of his students in establishing manufacturing centers in Asia.

"As a world-leading researcher in photovoltaics, Martin has delivered truly transformational outcomes in renewable energy for more than three decades,” said Ian Jacobs, president and vice chancellor of UNSW. "Martin is a highly deserving recipient of this Global [Energy] Prize and we warmly congratulate him. His fundamental and applied research has transformed the global energy sector and will continue to produce major economic and social benefits, both in Australia and worldwide."

Green’s record-breaking achievements stretch across decades. In 1989, his team supplied the solar cells for the first photovoltaic system with an energy conversion efficiency of 20 percent. And in 2014, he headed the development team that first demonstrated the conversion of sunlight into electricity with an energy conversion efficiency of 40 percent.

Among his many breakthroughs, he invented the PERC solar cell, which accounted for more than 24 percent of the world's silicon cell manufacturing capacity at the end of 2017. Sales of systems containing this solar cell exceeded $10 billion in 2017 and are predicted to exceed $1 trillion by 2040.

"The efficiency of solar modules is an area whose progress has been faster than many experts expected, and this is good news,” Green said. "We need to maintain the pace of research in Australia, not only to keep our international lead, but also to benefit society by providing a cheap, low-carbon source of electricity. Given the quality of the candidates on the shortlist, receiving this prize is a great honor and will spur on our efforts. I look forward to the presentation in Russia in October."

Photonics Spectra
Sep 2018
BusinessUniversity of South WalesSydneyAustraliaMartin GreenpeopleawardsphotovoltaicsAsia-Pacificeducationlight speed

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