Pesquisador da Catalunha virá à 39ª RASBQ demonstrar seus avanços em novas rotas e materiais para abaixar o custo das películas fotovoltaicas
A carreira do engenheiro químico Edgardo Saucedo, pesquisador do Instituto de Pesquisas Energéticas da Catalunha, é relativamente recente, e ao mesmo tempo profícua. Formado em Montevidéu (URU), ele concluiu seu doutorado em Física dos Materiais, pela Universidade Autônoma de Madri, em 2007, quando começou a pesquisar tanto novas rotas de síntese para chegar aos tradicionais materiais fotovoltaicos, quanto a obtenção de novos materiais eficientes para transformar a luz do sol em eletricidade. Hoje é o cientista com mais artigos publicados – e citados – sobre o kesterite como material fotovoltaico e coordena o Kestcells, o maior projeto europeu de desenvolvimento de materiais fotovoltaicos com o uso destes eficientes compostos.
"A luz do sol que a Terra recebe em uma hora e meia é suficiente para atender toda a demanda energética do planeta em um ano. Mas a produção dessa energia ainda é cara se comparada às fontes fósseis, como petróleo e carvão", afirmou Saucedo ao Boletim da SBQ. Segundo ele, para se chegar a custos competitivos é fundamental que a comunidade científica internacional una esforços. "Painéis fotovoltaicos de baixo custo são peça-chave para criarmos um futuro sustentável, baseado na energia solar", declarou.
Edgardo Saucedo é um dos conferencistas confirmados para a 39ª Reunião Anual da SBQ, que será realizada em Goiânia, de 30 de maio a 2 de junho. Ele tem quatro patentes, três das quais já foram ou são exploradas pela indústria. "Minha pesquisa é em boa parte guiada pelas necessidades da indústria de películas fotovoltaicas, que buscam se tornar uma alternativa real as fontes de energia não-renováveis, baseadas em combustíveis fósseis", explicou.
Em sua opinião, a energia solar é uma ótima opção para o Brasil, não só pela qualidade da energia que poderá ser produzida, como por representar oportunidades de negócio e desenvolvimento científico. "O Brasil tem universidades e centros de pesquisa de alto nível, e pode aproveitar o desenvolvimento da energia solar para aprimorar ainda mais sua ciência, bem como criar soluções sustentáveis e empregos de qualidade", observou Saucedo.
Leia a íntegra da entrevista concedida pelo Professor Edgardo Saucedo ao Boletim da SBQ:
Why is it important that we obtain low cost sustainable photovoltaic panels?
Solar light constitutes a non-exhaustible energy source: the Earth receives from the sun in one hour and a half, the energy to cover the humanity needs during one year. This evidences the importance of this source of energy. After the first practical device invented by Bell Laboratories in 1954 for converting sunlight in electricity, the evolution of photovoltaic technologies has been enormous, contributing also to the discovering of new materials, to the advance of solid state physics, electrical engineering and many other Science fields. Additionally, renewable energies like solar panel do not produce any gas wastes when in use. In this frame, photovoltaic energy is called to be at the forefront of the renewables energies in the near future. Nevertheless, the production of energy with these technologies is still expensive when compared with fossil fuels like coal, oil or natural gas. In this sense, for increasing the photovoltaic energy market share in the next years, it is of paramount importance to reduce the price of this energy towards values competitive with the non-renewable sources, in order to become a real alternative, very attractive for the consumers. To achieve these challenging goals with respect to competitive prices, it is fundamental that the scientific community join efforts for developing low cost materials and processes, while keeping the same performance level of materials already available today at the market like crystalline and multi-crystalline Silicon panels. Evidently, low cost photovoltaic is the key word to create a sustainable future based in Solar Energy.
What advances have you made in this direction?
Since 2006, I have contributed in two different aspects to the development of cost-efficient photovoltaic technologies: the development of non-vacuum routes as less expensive alternatives to the conventional vacuum technologies for the synthesis of photovoltaic materials, and the investigation of new alternative photovoltaic absorbers based on new materials formed by elements that are abundant in the earth crust. Concerning to the development of non-vacuum routes, I have worked mainly in electrodeposition based techniques for Cu(In,Ga)Se2 (CIGS) and Cu2ZnSn(S,Se)4 (CZTS) compounds. Working on that, and in the frame of the recently finished SCALENANO European project (www.scalenano.eu), I have contributed to achieve two world records for an electrodeposited CIGS and CZTS, including the best solar panel based on electrodeposited CIGS absorber obtained ever, demonstrating for the first time the capability of the non-vacuum techniques to achieve efficiencies competitive with the vacuum based techniques. On the other hand, I have a recognized trajectory in the development of photovoltaic materials free of scarce elements, working mainly in CZTS (kesterite technology), and in fact I'm the General Coordinator of probably the biggest project in kesterites in Europe, the KESTCELLS project (www.kestcells.eu). I have contributed in the discovery of several important aspects of this family of materials, solving key problem of the associated technology that have been published in the most relevant journals of the field, including Advanced Energy Materials, Progress in Photovoltaics, Journal of the American Chemical Society, Chemistry of Materials, etc. For example, I'm the scientist worldwide with the higher number of published papers in CZTS, with more than 45 papers in the field and more than 1200 citations on this material.
How far (or close) away are your findings in the laboratories from the industrial production?
My group (Solar Energy Materials and Systems) comes from the Catalonia Institute for Energy Research (IREC) in Barcelona, Spain. Our Institution is a mix between Governmental and private Sector funding, being the most relevant companies in the Energy sector in Spain involved in IREC. The scientific and technologic work that we perform is very close to the Industry, and we have collaborated in the past and we already collaborate with several of the most important photovoltaic companies in Europe. Our findings go from fundamental aspects of these technologies, to the most applied ones, so it could be considered that we cover the whole "chain of knowledge". But in particular, I have 4 patents, and three of them are or have been exploited by the Industry. My research is in a good part driven for the necessities of the thin film photovoltaic industries, aiming to become a real alternative in the future to the conventional non-renewable energy sources based on fossil fuels.
What is the importance of solar energy for a country like Brazil?
Solar Energy is of key importance worldwide. But for Brazil, which is a very big country and a world economic power, with almost all the territory with a very high level of sun irradiance, photovoltaic energy can be the solution of several energy related problems. Solar Energy have the peculiarity that can be produced and consumed in the same place, this means that do not require big and expensive infrastructures neither for production, nor for transmission! This is a key advantage when you need to bring energy to isolated communities, or places with a complicated geography like some parts of Brazil, ensuring that the energy can arrive to the whole country and can be available for everyone. But also Solar Energy is a great choice for the country, because this technology is under development, representing both, a scientific and business opportunity. Brazil has Universities and Research Centers among the best at worldwide level, this means a very good scientific and technologic network, together with the maturity to face the deployment of their own photovoltaic technology. The development of this type of energy in the developed countries has been associated always with the creation of high level scientific knowledge, together with the foundation of very competitive companies and creation of good quality jobs. A country like Brazil can always profit from the development of solar energy, wining scientific quality as well as developing sustainable solutions and jobs with quality for the Brazilian society.
What do you expect from your visit?
I have a lot of expectations from my visit. Actually, I have been several times in Brazil, and I did an internship in the campus of São Carlos at the University of São Paulo during my Master Thesis in 2001. In my several visits to the country, I have fallen in love with Brazil and with the Brazilian people. I expect to bring to the Brazilian scientific community and society in general my particular and very positive experience, as well as my passion for the research in new materials with application in solar energy conversion. I hope to stimulate and to convince new students about the importance to join our efforts and our knowledge in the development of sustainable solutions for our countries and in consequence for our planet. And I am convinced that I will receive a lot from the Brazilian community including possible future scientific collaborations and exchange of experiences with scientists that like me, are convinced that a sustainable and fairer world is possible.
How did your passion for Chemistry start off?
My passion for Chemistry was definitively born with me. Ever since I can remember, when I was a little kid, I was fully convinced that the passion of my life is the research in Chemistry, and if at that time someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up, I never had doubts: Chemist. I don't know where it comes from, because no one, neither in my family, nor in my inner circle has followed a scientific career. So, I'm convinced that my passion for Chemistry is a part of who I am.
“Complex surface chemistry of Kesterites: Cu/Zn reordering after low temperature postdeposition annealing and its role in high performance devices”, M. Neuschitzer, Y. Sanchez, T. Olar, T. Thersleff, S. Lopez-Marino, F. Oliva, M. Espindola-Rodriguez, H. Xie, M. Placidi, V. Izquierdo-Roca, I. Lauermann, K. Leifer, A. Pérez-Rodriguez, E. Saucedo, Chem. Mater. 2015, 29, 5279-5287.
“Large efficiency improvement in Cu2ZnSnSe4 solar cells by introducing a superficial Ge nanolayer”, S. Giraldo, M. Neuschitzer, T. Thersleff, S. López-Marino, Y. Sánchez, H. Xie, M. Colina, M. Placidi, P. Pistor, V. Izquierdo-Roca, K. Leifer, A. Pérez-Rodríguez, E. Saucedo, Adv. Energy Mater. 2015, 5, 1501070.
“8.2% pure selenide kesterite thin-film solar cells from large-area electrodeposited precursors”, L. Vauche, L. Risch, Y. Sánchez, M. Dimitrievska, M. Pasquinelli, T. Goislard de Monsabert, P-P. Grand, S. Jaime-Ferrer, E. Saucedo, Prog. Photovolt. Res. Appl. 2016 24, 38-51.
“Development of a selective chemical etch to improve the conversion efficiency of Zn-rich Cu2ZnSnS4 solar cells”, A. Fairbrother, E. García-Hemme, V. Izquierdo-Roca, X. Fontané, F. A. Pulgarín-Agudelo, O. Vigil-Galán, A. Peérez-Rodríguez, E. Saucedo, J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2012, 134, 8018 – 8021.
“Inhibiting the absorber/Mo-back contact decomposition reaction in Cu2ZnSnSe4 solar cells: the role of a ZnO intermediate nanolayer”, S. Lopez-Marino, M. Placidi, A. Perez-Tomas, J. Llobet, V. Izquierdo-Roca, X. Fontane, A. Fairbrother, M. Espindola-Rodriguez, D. Sylla, A. Perez-Rodriguez, E. Saucedo, J. Mater. Chem. 2013, 1, 8338 – 8343.
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Instituto de Pesquisa Energética da Catalunha:
A 39ª Reunião Anual da SBQ será no Centro de Convenções de Goiânia, de 30 de maio a 2 de junho de 2016.
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Texto: Mario Henrique Viana, assessor de imprensa da SBQ