We are glad to introduce this second IPVF newsletter!
Total is an historical partner of IPVF, from the creation of the ‘Institute pour la Transition Energétique’ to the installation in the building and the execution of the IPVF research program. Since 2014, IPVF has grown and has demonstrated its capability to reach operational and scientific excellence.
IPVF and its partners have been doing an excellent job to develop the next generation of high efficiency PV cells that will contribute to promote the generation of low carbon electricity. The flexible and advanced technology platform, the unique technical competencies available at IPVF and its location on the Saclay Campus make IPVF a unique asset in the French research landscape and for its industrial partners to develop new and innovative solutions for the energy transition. Today, the PV landscape and competitive market have drastically changed which is now challenging the IPVF roadmap and is a driver for an evolution of IPVF to adapt to these changes. As an institute for the energy transition, we think that IPVF’s mission is to be instrumental on photovoltaics but also on relevant low carbon energy-related topics, such as technological solutions to reduce CO2 emission. Total is now mobilized to assist and accelerate this transformation to strengthen the position of IPVF ITE by leveraging these assets while widening the scope of activities.
In this context solar technologies are of course of paramount importance. We can even go further than only generating electrons from photons but also producing molecules of interests. That is the sense of the new program “solar to fuels” we promote and are engaging in. We can notably imagine reducing CO2 into fuels which would constitute a virtuous loop and would answer to a major stake for our future. So, after converting solar energy into electrical energy, the next step consists in converting the electrical energy into chemical energy as efficiently as possible to open a new chemistry route based upon CO2! In a first step, thanks to the photoelectrochemistry, we can expect reducing water into hydrogen. This e-H2 will constitute a key molecule in the future, being : a fuel, an energy storage solution and an energy vector, but also a reductive agent to decompose CO2 into fuels such as methanol. We can then also consider converting directly CO2 into fuels via a tailored PEC (photoelectrochemical) cell. The field of possibilities is large. Thanks to the combined expertise on solar cell technologies, advanced characterization techniques and thin films at IPVF, IPVF can legitimately address this technology challenge to develop competitive PEC cells within the next 3 years : making the possible a reality !