20th Sede Boqer Symposium - Speaker’s Presentations
The Sede Boqer Symposia on Solar Electricity Production were initiated by Prof. David Faiman in 1986, and have been taking place every year and half since then. Following the tradition of these symposia, presentations on all types of conversion of solar energy to electricity are included (without parallel sessions), including namely photovoltaics, photo electrochemistry, concentrated solar power (CSP), etc. This year the symposium encompassed three different events (all are related to scientific advancements in the mentioned research areas) and took place on two campuses of Ben-Gurion University – on the main campus in Beer-Sheva and on the Sede Boqer campus. The conference included the “IKI Nano-day”, yearly organized by the Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, and the workshop of BGU-ENEA* Joint Laboratory for Alternative Energy. The combined conference paid tribute to the Adelis Foundation which has substantially contributed to the advancement of science in the field, fostering national and international collaborations and substantially improving BGU’s infrastructure equipment.
A total of 43 lectures were delivered during the three days of the conference. The majority of topics were related to photovoltaics. Photovoltaic presentations in nine sessions covered all levels of current research in this area: materials (including materials science on the nanoscale), devices and systems. The timing of the conference happened to coincide with the appearance and first attempts of commercialization of a novel and unique semiconductor, the organic-inorganic hybrid perovskites. For the first time in the history of photovoltaics, it is possible to produce high-efficiency cells at low monetary and energy costs with apparent ease of fabrication from earth-abundant, readily available raw materials. The efficiency of perovskite solar cells has increased from 2.2% in 2006 to ~22% today. Two sessions of the symposium were devoted to perovskite-based materials and solar cells. This topic was discussed in the invited talk by Prof. Guglielmo Lanzani (Politecnico di Milano) and in the plenary lecture by Prof. Jenny Nelson (Imperial College, London). We were particularly pleased to welcome Prof. Nelson, internationally renowned expert in solar cell physics, Fellow of the Royal Society, London, and recipient of the 2016 Faraday Medal.
Another special topic addressed the physics of light-matter interactions, which was discussed in the session “Photonic Nanostructures and Light Management for Highly Efficient Solar Cells” and in the key-note lecture “Ultra-thin solar cells: Promise, Recent Progress and Future Challenges” by Dr. Stéphane Collin (Laboratoire de Photonique et de Nanostructures, CNRS/LPN, France).
Due to the vital importance of energy storage a special session was devoted to solar fuels, photo electrochemistry and electrochemistry. This session started with the lecture “Reflections on Rust: Iron Oxide Photoelectrodes for Solar Energy Conversion and Storage” by Prof. Avner Rothschild (Technion), a world-renown expert in this research area.
Last but not least, three events were focused on thermo-solar conversion of sunlight. One session entitled “Concentrated Solar Power” included among other lectures, presentations from the leading industrial companies BrightSource and Shikun&Binui about their projects in the Negev desert (at Ashalim). Dr. Clifford Ho (Sandia National Laboratories, USA) delivered an invited key-note lecture entitled “State of the Art of Solar Tower Technology”, reporting on the latest developments. A scientific tour of the large 121 MW Ashalim Solar Tower Thermal Power Station under construction in Israel’s Negev desert was offered to all participants at the conclusion of the conference.
Save this date: The 21st Sede Boqer Symposium on Solar Electricity Production, Sede Boqer is scheduled to be held during the first week of March 2018.
The Organizing Committee
Eugene A. Katz
* the Italian National Agency for New Technologies