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Photovoltaic solar energy: from the photoelectric effect to global power generation and beyond

Prize lecture

Event video

April
262017

18:30 - 19:30

Location

The Royal Society, London, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG

Overview

Professor Henry Snaith FRS

Kavli Medal and Lecture by Professor Henry Snaith FRS.

The sun has been powering our planet for eons and solar energy is the route power source for the majority of life on earth. Human civilisation relies almost entirely on solar energy, but as a primary source of fuel we have thus far capitalised upon burning ancient stores of solar energy in the form of carbonized remains of plant or microorganisms, i.e. coal and oil. However, the sudden release of these ancient stores of energy comes with the price of releasing the carbon and other pollutants back into the atmosphere, which is driving both global warming and dangerously unhealthy air quality. 

For the last 60 years scientist and engineers have been striving to make electronic devices which convert sun light directly into usable electricity. These photovoltaic cells are now so efficient that over the last 10 years, the cost of producing electricity from sun light is now cheaper in some places in the world than the production of electricity from coal fired power stations. 

We are now therefore at a tipping point, where increased future power generation capacity will be dominated by photovoltaics, due to economics rather than environmental concerns. This lecture will explore key discoveries and advancements of a new family of photovoltaic materials that have emerged over the last few years and promise to deliver the next generation of more efficient and cheaper photovoltaic cells.

This prize lecture will be webcast live and the video recording of the event will be available shortly after the event.

Attending the event

  • Free to attend
  • No registration required
  • Doors open from 18:00, and seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis 
  • British Sign Language interpretation and live subtitles are available upon request. Please let the Events Team know if you plan to attend at least two weeks prior to the event.
  • Travel and accessibility information can be found here

This event will have live subtitles provided by StageText. The lecture will be webcast live and recorded video will be available on this webpage following the event. 

The Award

The Kavli Medal and Lecture is awarded biennially (in odd years) for excellence in all fields of science and engineering relevant to the environment or energy. The winner received a medal of bronze gilt, and a gift of £1,000. The winner is invited to deliver a public lecture on their research at the Society. 

Professor Henry Snaith FRS was awarded the Kavli Medal and Lecture 2017 for his discovery and development  of perovskite solar cells which promise to dramatically increase the efficiency and reduce cost of solar energy.

For all enquires, please contact the Events Team



Photovoltaic solar energy: from the photoelectric effect to global power generation and beyond The Royal Society, London 6-9 Carlton House Terrace London SW1Y 5AG UK