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Wednesday 25 Jun 2014New Staff Seminar

Asif Tahir, Xiaohong Li, Senthilarasu Sundaram -

Richard Trevithick Room, ESI, Penryn Campus 13:00-14:00

A New Staff Seminar series event in conjunction with the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI)'s weekly seminar series.

Hosted by Professor Tapas Mallick.

Staff who have recently joined the College will give short presentations on their careers and research interests, with opportunities for questions. The event is open to all to attend from across the College's disciplines.


Dr. Asif Tahir
Lecturer in Renewable Energy, ESI

I am a Lecturer in Renewable Energy and specialise in design and fabrication of nanomaterials using state-of-the-art techniques for solar energy conversion to solar fuel (artificial photosynthesis), electricity (solar cell) and photocatalysis. After obtaining my PhD (2009) in inorganic material chemistry, I worked as a research associate at Loughborough University for three years and at the University of Liverpool for two years, before joining the University of Exeter.

My research focus includes the design, synthesis and characterisation of new materials using soft chemistry approaches and optimisation of nanomaterials for high performance. I have published 43 peer-reviewed research papers in high-impact journals, plus one book chapter, receiving overall citations in excess of 500 in the past few years. I have established a strong collaborative network around the world, and thrive in working in a team to explore important new horizons in the field of material design for solar energy conversion and photocatalysis.

Dr. Xiaohong Li
Lecturer in Renewable Energy

I obtained my BSc and PhD in Chemistry from Lanzhou University and Peking University respectively. After experience as an engineer and project manager for PetroChina Ltd, I have been working in the UK since 2003, between 2003 and 2013 at the University of Southampton and as a Senior Consulting Engineer in the Research Institute for Industry. In October 2013 I joined the University of Exeter as a Lecturer in Renewable Energy.

My research interests include energy conversion and storage, with particular emphasis on redox flow batteries, water electrolysers, and nanoscale materials (for electrocatalysis, optoelectronics devices and sensors). I have worked closely with industrial partners developing low cost and environmentally sustainable energy storage technologies. These research activities have resulted in one book chapter, 46 peer-reviewed journal papers including 3 critical review articles.

Dr. Senthilarasu Sundaram
Lecturer in Renewable Energy, ESI

'Low-cost Photovoltaics: perspectives and challenges' - - the development of alternative renewable sources of energy is now urgently needed to reduce the environmental impact of CO2 emissions. The achievement of CO2 emission reduction through low cost environmentally-friendly renewable energy sources, including photovoltaics (PV) will be worth perusing. C-Si solar cells are leaders in the PV market. However, the recent development of lower-cost CdTe modules has demonstrated that further cost reductions will result in a large increase in deployment. The thin film technologies viz. a-Si, CIGS and CdTe solar cells have clearly demonstrated a trend which in the near mid-term future has potential to bring costs down substantially, close to current grid electricity by fossil fuel. In parallel, low-cost solar technologies such as dye-sensitised solar cells and perovskite-based thin film solar cells are developing rapidly in terms of their competitive efficiency figures.

However, all current PV technologies, along with many other renewable energy systems, suffer from the
disadvantage that up-front capital costs are very high. In contrast, thin film solar cells manufactured by direct printing at ambient temperatures onto low-cost plastic substrates have the potential to be much cheaper. These can be made using Excitonic Solar Cell architectures (which includes dye-sensitised solar cells, perovskite and organic PVs) and may deliver much-reduced initial capital investment. Even when efficiency per unit area is lower than that from conventional solar cells, these represent very attractive systems that have the potential to be widely deployed (manufacturing outputs can be several orders of magnitude greater than is possible for vacuum-processed cells).

Dr. Senthilarasu Sundaram is a lecturer in Renewable Energy in CEMPS. Prior to joining Exeter in October 2013 he was a Research Associate at the Energy Conversion Laboratory (ECL), Heriot-Watt University.

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