Imagine a planet that harnesses the abundant light energy that it receives. Where every building and vehicle generates electricity in the sun. Where low cost energy is accessible by all. Professor Paul Dastoor

The Idea


Organic solar modules hold the possibility of being able to generate low-cost electricity, on almost any surface.

Printed

Solar modules are printed using roll-to-roll (R2R) technology, the same way stickers, labels, and other printed products are produced.

Lightweight

1000 square metres of organic solar is a little heavier than an average adult male (100 kg). Compare that to traditional silicon solar, which would weigh the same as 3 large african elephants (11 tons)!

Low cost

Organic solar modules are extremely thin, making their cost very low as very little material is used.

Flexible

The modules arrive rolled up on cores, similar to paper towel. Able to be wrapped around almost any surface, their flexibility opens up almost endless possibilities for deployment.

Recyclable

As the modules are almost entirely plastic, they are completely recyclable.

On-demand production

Organic solar modules are printed on-demand. If a disaster happened, we could be printing solar modules to provide power immediately.

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The Science


Organic solar cells work by converting the energy from sunlight into separate positive and negative charges that can be used as electricity.

The Team


Harnessing capabilities across the science and engineering spectrum, the COE Solar team is uniquely positioned to bring this technology to life.

Headshot of Professor Paul Dastoor

Paul Dastoor

Professor Paul Dastoor is Professor of Physics at the University of Newcastle in Australia. He received his B.A. degree in Natural Sciences and his PhD in Surface Physics from the University of Cambridge. He has been Visiting Research Fellow at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, UK, at the Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire, UK and at Nanyang Technological University. He is Director of the Centre for Organic Electronics, which he established in 2007. His research interests encompass the growth and properties of thin films, surface coatings and organic electronic devices based on semi-conducting polymers. These exciting materials offer the tantalising prospect of paints that generate electricity directly from sunlight and sensors that can be printed as flexible arrays.

Headshot of Dr Warwick Belcher

Warwick Belcher

Warwick J. Belcher was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1965. He received the B.Sc. degree in chemistry from the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1988, the M.Sc. degree in organic chemistry from Auckland University in 1989 and the Ph.D degree in polymer chemistry, also from the University of Auckland, in 1996. From 2001-2005 he worked at the Nanomaterials Research Centre at Massey University, New Zealand. In 2005 he became a lead researcher with the Centre for Organic Electronics (COE) at the University of Newcastle, and he presently occupies this role in conjunction with a Lectureship in the School of Environmental and Life Sciences. His reresearch interests involve the synthesis of novel polymers and nanostructured materials for use in organic electronic applications. He is the author of over 90 peer reviewed publications attracting more than 1,500 citations.

Headshot of Dr Ben Vaughan

Ben Vaughan

Dr Ben Vaughan is the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) facility manager at the Centre for Organic Electronics. Completing his PhD in 2012 on large area organic photovoltaics, he has been intimately involved in the development of solar at the COE.

Headshot of Dr Thomas Anderson

Thomas Andersen

Dr Thomas Andersen received his PhD in chemical engineering from the Technical University of Denmark in 2013 where he worked with upscaling of printable organic electronics. He stayed on for a 1 year post doctoral position before being recruited to lead the upscaling of printable organic electronics at the Centre of Organic Electronics at the University of Newcastle. He is currently focused at large scale printing of organic solar cells.

Headshot of Dr Henrik Dam

Henrik Dam

Dr Henrik Dam received his PhD in material science from the Technical University of Denmark in 2013 having worked on upscaling of printable organic electronics. He continued for a year as a post doctoral researcher in the group implementing the first fully printed organic tandem solar cell, after which he moved to industry working with Grafisk Maskinfabrik in Denmark on conversion and printing equipment for the digital printing industry. At the end of 2016 he was recruited to the Centre of Organic Electronics at the University of Newcastle, assisting in the printing development for organic solar cells and sensors.

Headshot of Dr Nathan Cooling

Nathan Cooling

Dr Nathan Cooling completed his PhD in Chemistry in 2013, which focused on improving the performance of organic solar cells using light-harvesting dyes such as porphyrins. He is currently a research chemist at the Centre for Organic Electronics, where he is working on large scale manufacture and roll-to-roll printing of dye-sensitised and organic solar cells, with a focus on reducing the cost of printed solar technologies by developing novel and scalable methods for organic semiconductor synthesis.

Headshot of Dr Matthew Griffith

Matthew Griffith

Dr Matt Griffith received his PhD in physical chemistry from the University of Wollongong in 2012 where he worked on next generation solar cells. He has since worked in Japan and Australia in research roles that focus on understanding fundamental physical chemistry and photophysics processes in organic electronic materials using optical and electrical spectroscopy. He currently works at the University of Newcastle on a variety of projects that investigate the integration of optical signals with printed electronic materials for sensing applications.

Headshot of Dr Nicolas Nicolaidis

Nicolas Nicolaidis

Dr Nicolaidis obtained his PhD in Organic Photovoltaics in 2015 with for his thesis titled “Optical properties of nanoparticulate organic photovoltaics and pathways to implementation”. Since that time he has worked on industrial projects to incorporate printed devices into products for commercial partners, and has investigated novel means to activate printed solar cells in a fast roll to roll compatible manner.

Headshot of Dr Daniel Elkington

Daniel Elkington

Dr Daniel Elkington received his PhD in physics from the University of Newcastle in 2013 having studied organic transistors with a focus on sensing applications in the Centre for Organic Electronics. He has since continued in the Centre in a research role and has been involved in several projects relating to applications of organic electronic materials including sensors and solar cells, with a particular interest in next-generation fabrication techniques such as printing.

Headshot of Dr Matthew Barr

Matthew Barr

Dr Matthew Barr was awarded his PhD from the University of Newcastle in 2016, where he was involved in the development of the world's first far-field reflection-mode scanning helium microscope. During his PhD, he became involved in the development of organic photovoltaics through the use of advanced x-ray techniques to characterise their structure and chemistry at the nanoscale.

Headshot of Adam Fahy

Adam Fahy

Adam Fahy is a PhD (Physics) student at the University of Newcastle, Australia, within the Priority Research Centre for Organic Electronics (COE). His research interests include applications of carbon nanotubes, ionisation mechanisms for neutral species, and novel instrument design. In particular, his PhD project concerns the construction and operation of a new type of microscope utilising neutral helium as the probe particle.

Headshot of Dr Tim Lewis

Tim Lewis

Dr Tim Lewis graduated in Chemical Engineering from The University of Newcastle in 1990 before working in mineral processing and wastewater treatment industries for ten years. He then returned to working and studying at the University while completing a PhD in Geoenvironmental Engineering, graduating in 2008. Since then he has worked on a variety of research and technology commercialisation projects, most recently with the COE.

Headshot of Dr Michael Dickinson

Michael Dickinson

Dr Michael Dickinson has a product design background. His research focus is the interface between humans and the artefacts we design for humans. He has produced research in technical fields like photovoltaics and robotics but has also pursued theoretical studies in design; creativity and non-text based forms of communication.

Headshot of Dr Natalie Holmes

Natalie Holmes

Dr Natalie Holmes was awarded her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Newcastle in 2015, as an Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) scholar, where she was involved in the development of aqueous nanoparticle inks for the fabrication of organic solar cells. Her research investigated the structure-function relationships in these devices through the use of synchrotron-based X-ray microscopy, electron microscopy and spectroscopy, which led to the publication of several of the seminal articles in the emerging research field of nanoparticle organic solar cells. Shortly after finishing her PhD, Natalie took up a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Associate position at Karlstad University, Sweden where she investigated other environmentally-friendly solvent options for coating semiconducting polymers for solar cell fabrication. Natalie now works as a Research Associate at the Centre for Organic Electronics (COE), University of Newcastle in materials science, developing nano- and micro-structured functional polymeric materials for organic electronic sensor and solar cell applications.

Projects


The Centre for Organic Electronic's world leading research and development is demonstrated in the projects COE Solar has brought to life.

100 Square

COE Solar has unveiled Australia's first printed solar field. One hundred square metres of organic solar modules have been installed on a roof at the University of Newcastle. This demonstration site enables final phase testing and modifications of the system before this renewable energy technology could be made available to the public.

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PacPrint 2017

COE Solar was invited to demonstrate printed solar technology at Australia's largest printing trade show, Pacprint 2017 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from the 23-26 May. The first public display of COE Solar's technology, the exhibit consists of custom built pop-up archways which allow the people to touch the material and walk through and under it.

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First Commercial Install

COE Solar has already attracted its first commercial partner, global logistics solutions company CHEP. CHEP Australia are working with COE Solar to rollout a commercial scale pilot installation of organic printed solar on the roof of one of its service centres next financial year.

“Through our collaboration with UON, we see the potential to make CHEP’s inherently sustainable business model even better. Our aim is to develop better supply chains, but we recognise that this begins with sustainability in our own operations,” said Lachlan Feggans, CHEP Australia’s Senior Manager, Sustainability Asia-Pacific.

Contact Us


Think we could work together on a solar future? Get in touch today.

Visit Us

Physics building, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

Phone: 02 4921 5426

Email: paul.dastoor@newcastle.edu.au