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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/W010763/1
Title A durable and scalable anti-soiling coating for solar modules
Status Started
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Solar Energy, Photovoltaics) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 20%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 80%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Professor J Walls
No email address given
Electronic and Electrical Engineering
Loughborough University
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 17 January 2022
End Date 16 January 2025
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £493,263
Industrial Sectors Energy
Region East Midlands
Programme Energy : Energy
Investigators Principal Investigator Professor J Walls , Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Dr TR (Tom ) Betts , Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Loughborough University (0.001%)
Dr PJM Isherwood , Wolfson Sch of Mech, Elec & Manufac En, Loughborough University (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , NSG Group (UK) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Above Surveying Ltd (0.000%)
Project Contact , Solar Farm Cleaning Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract The UK is committed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This will require a massive shift in the way electricity is generated, away from burning fossil fuels and towards the use of renewable sources such as wind and solar. The cost of solar modules has reduced dramatically over the past few years and subsidy-free deployment is expanding rapidly, especially at utility scale. It is forecast that more than 40GW will be in use in the UK by 2030. Solar assets are financed by professional managers who are concerned by the ongoing operational costs of maintenance that affect power output and the return on investment. In particular, attention is being drawn to the problem of cover glass soiling that attenuates the light into the module. Soiling can reduce power output by up to 5% in the UK and is a far more serious problem (up to 50%) in arid sunbelt regions such as occur in India and the Middle East. Polymer-based hydrophobic anti-soiling coatings have been shown to work in principle, but their durability is not sufficient to withstand 24/7 exposure to environmental stresses or to abrasion damage caused by regular cleaning. The objective of this research is to develop and test a thin inorganic rare-earth oxide coating for application to solar cover glass. The hydrophobic coating will be low surface energy to reduce the adhesion to soiling. Its application will reduce the frequency of costly cleaning cycles. The coating will be capable of being applied at industrial scale using an Atmospheric Chemical Vapour Deposition process that is compatible with glass manufacturing. Use of the coating will significantly improve the practical power output of solar modules and will have worldwide impact

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Added to Database 16/02/22