Authors: Olivia Ashton and Alex Smith
As fresh graduates in the sphere of academia, we knew our time would come to lose our conference virginity. A place where great minds in a particular field come together to share ideas and discuss progress, a conference seemed like a daunting experience. Jumping in head first, the CDT-PV students were encouraged to attend PVSAT-12 on the 6-8th April 2016, a solar technology research event held this year in Liverpool.
PVSAT is the Photovoltaic Science, Application and Technology Conference for researchers, PhD students and industry specialists. It is now in its twelfth year and covers a wide range of photovoltaic (PV) technologies including OPV, CdTe and silicon to name a few. It also doesn’t limit itself to a research focus; environmental impact, political policies, industry applications and challenges in market development also featured. This broad overview allows for different people in the solar field to come together -and discuss the area from material development all the way to the recycling of used solar modules.
Reflecting on the conference, Nigel Mason, conference chair for PV-SAT 12 said:
“Liverpool did us proud. Our 12th annual PVSAT event was a pleasure to attend and participate. The venue was perfect for our conference and the team at Liverpool University were delightful hosts. The post-event feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and delegates particularly appreciated the breadth of the topics covered from fundamental studies to environmental and product performance.”
At PV-SAT 12 there were a variety of presentations, with 8 invited speakers. CDT-PV’s very own Ken Durose gave an excellent opening talk on the challenges of open circuit voltage in CdTe solar cells. This was complimented by a closing talk by Wyatt Metzger from NREL, who presented work showing possible ways to overcome these challenges. In the Steel PV workshop, Yulia Galagan from TNO Holst Centre presented on OPV thin films on steel for building integration, an insight in to how PV can be better integrated into society.
The overall calibre of the talks at PVSAT-12 were thought provoking and insightful, especially to our cohort of early PhD researchers. The very open atmosphere allowed us to feel comfortable to engage with both oral and poster presenters and ask those ‘stupid’ questions about their work. This was evermore apparent at the conference dinner, at the Liverpool Athenaeum where we celebrated those who were commended for their contributions to the conference. As a special treat, after dinner entertainment was provided by Robert Llewellyn, a green technology enthusiast and star of Red Dwarf. He gave an enthusiastic talk on how he has integrated electric cars into his life and what he thinks about the development of sustainable energy.
Looking back on PVSAT-12 from the comfort of a café during the Oxford module on CDT-PV, we’re glad we decided to attend. The broad area covered helps us to keep our own, very niche, research in the bigger picture of where PV is going and what else is happening in the community. Looking forward, we’re already beginning to scout out further conferences in PV and finding we’re not short of choices.
Don’t forget to check out the other CDT-PV articles!
Solar energy and the sunshine map
Anna Fontcuberta i Morral: an interview with Section Editor of JPhysD’s new renewable energy and sustainability section
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License
Photos Courtesy of Rob Treherne and Juliane Borchert.