Gabriel Lozano Barbero. BBVA Foundation.
Solar energy almost given away. It is the reason why the scientific community has been exploring perovskite for years, a material that, if it replaces silicon in solar cells, would throw costs down. However, the industry is not at that point because it is necessary to continue reeling off all the details of this product to remedy its Achilles heel: the loss of performance. Precisely, for his drive in this field, a young physicist from Cordoba, Gabriel Lozano Barbero, has just obtained the New Investigator Prize in Experimental Physics.
His ability for his research work in optoelectronics to generate commercially relevant applications and his participation in the development of the first model that describes the optical behavior of perovskite-based solar cells, are the reasons why this young man is part of the list of the Physics Awards, awarded annually by the Royal Spanish Physics Society and the BBVA Foundation.
Lozano’s trajectory has been meteoric. Principal investigator of the Institute of Materials Science of Seville, of the Higher Center for Scientific Research (CSIC), his contribution to the knowledge about perovskite and its way of interacting with sunlight is already important to be able to move towards cells with an efficient greater than 35%.
For the moment, the approximations, which are constant, are far from this percentage. Thus, for example, one of the best results has come from the hand of the Belgian Research Institute IMEC, which designed a perovskite and silicon solar panel with an efficiency of 23.9%.
This model, the combination of both materials, is a possibility that Lozano does not rule out for the future at a time when silicon continues to be predominant, despite its costs. Thus, as reported by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) when perovskite began to gain relevance, the price of perovskite solar panels could rise to between 7.5 and 15 euro cents per watt. In contrast, that of solar technology at the time this MIT article was published was 56 cents per watt. It is estimated that below 37 cents, solar would be in a more than sufficient condition to compete with polluting energy sources.
For this reason, promoting knowledge about perovskite is seen by the industry as a determining factor to extend solar energy. And this will continue Lozano who, in addition to this award, received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council to promote his research, with 1.5 million euros for the development of materials that approximate the most efficient light sources. Before that, this physicist went through the Department of Exact and Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, the European Nonlinear Spectroscopy Laboratory of Florence and the Department of Chemistry of the University of Toronto, in addition to doing his post-doctoral stay at the Amsterdam Center for Atomic and Molecular Physics.