Renewable energy is a strong component in the race to mitigate climate change, and solar power is a particularly cheap and viable green energy option. Considering current technologies, cost, markets and infrastructure, Professor Henry Snaith, Co-Director of the Programme on Solar Energy: Organic Photovoltaics, and Professor Malcolm McCulloch, Head of the University of Oxford’s Electrical Power Group and Co-Director of The Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy, will debate whether solar is indeed the answer to the urgent question of irreversible climate change.
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About the speakers
Professor Henry Snaith is Co-Director of the Oxford Martin Programme on Solar Energy, and Head of the Photovoltaic and Optoelectronic Device Group at the University of Oxford. He has pioneered the development of hybrid materials for energy and photovoltaics through an interdisciplinary combination of materials synthesis, device development, advanced optoelectronic characterisations and theoretical studies. He has created new materials with advanced functionality and enhanced understanding of fundamental mechanisms. His recent discovery of extremely efficient thin-film solar cells manufactured from organic-inorganic metal halide perovskites has reset aspirations within the photovoltaics community. His work has started a new filed of research, attracting both academic and industrial following, propelled by the prospect of delivering a higher efficiency photovoltaic technology at a much lower cost than existing silicon PV.
In 2015 Professor Snaith became a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Professor Malcolm McCulloch is Co-Director of The Oxford Martin Programme on Integrating Renewable Energy, and was Co-Director of the Institute for Carbon and Energy Reduction in Transport, an Oxford Martin School programme from 2008-2013. He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Science and Head of the Energy and Power group at the University of Oxford.
His interests are in the area related to the domestic energy sector, development of user centric demand side management technologies, useful information to enable behaviour change. Previous work lead the the spin-out Intelligent Sustainable Energy, of which Malcolm is both a founder and non-executive director. This has merged to form Navetas Energy Management.
In the transport sector, Malcolm has been involved in developing power trains for hydrogen vehicles. There are currently three hydrogen based projects – the BOC ECh20 an eco-marathon car, LifeCar a concept car being developed by Morgan and four other partners and Hyrban, an urban hydrogen car. Work includes developing high efficiency low weight motors using new materials as well as developing the power electronics and the control.
The domestic sector is one of the largest energy sectors in the UK, although large amount of the energy is used in heating. Two projects on the go are smart feedback metering and a relook at domestic devices so as to improve their efficiency. In renewable generation, he is part of a team developing tidal flow devices and second related project to develop slow speed direct coupled generators.