Next generation PV module packaging design and mechanical testing

Photovoltaic modules are required to last 25- 30 years in harsh outdoor environment. The packaging of PV modules plays an essential role in reaching this target. PV cells are protected by a glass frontsheet, and highly engineered polymeric encapsulants and backsheets. Encapsulants provide moisture, oxygen &UV barrier, electrical isolation and mechanical protection of highly fragile cells while they must ensure optical coupling between the various layers. Current industrial process technology for module manufacturing is lamination that adds additional constraints to the formulation of encapsulants. These numerous requirements lead to ever-involving complex encapsulant composition and behavior.
The aim of this post-doc is to establish the correlation between the material properties of engineered plastics– their processing conditions and thermo-mechanical behavior in high performance PV modules with heterojunction, back-contact or Si/Perovksite tandem cells. Material selection and lamination process development will be guided by detailed material characterization (DSC, DMA, Peel strength, TGA, WVTR, Soxhlet extraction etc.). Moreover, we aim to establish insights in the encapsulant processing conditions and its impact on mechanical stability of PV modules. The selection of the encapsulants to investigate will be strongly guided by eco-design to lower the environmental impact and to increase the recyclability of modules. This postdoc is conducted in the frame of an EU collaboration.

Development of irradiation resistant silicon materials and integration in photovoltaïcs cells for space applications

Historically, photovoltaic (PV) energy was developed together with the rise of space exploration. In the 90’s, multijunction solar cells based on III-V materials progressively replaced silicon (Si) cells, taking advantage of higher efficiency levels and electrons/protons irradiation resistance. Nowadays, the space environment is again looking at Si based PV applications: request of higher PV power, moderated space mission lengths, cost reduction issues (€/W Si ~ III-V/500), higher efficiencies p-type Si PV cells… Solar cells are exposed to cosmic irradiation in space, especially to electrons and protons fluxes. The latter’s affect the cells performances, essentially because of bulk defect formations and charge carrier recombination. In order to use Si based solar cells in space, we need to increase their irradiation resistance, which is the main goal of this post-doc position. To do so, the work will first consist in elaborating new Si materials, with increased irradiation resistance. Compositional aspects of the Si will be modified, particularly by introducing elements limiting the formation of bulk defects under irradiations, developing electrical passivation properties. The electronic properties of the materials will be deeply characterized before and after controlled irradiation. Then, this Si material will be used to fabricate heterojunction solar cells. Their performances will be evaluated again before and after irradiation. Such experimental work could be supported by numerical simulation at the device scale.

Modeling of faults on low voltage DC networks in buildings, towards fault detection algorithms

The development of the use of renewable energies and energy storage as well as the progress made by power electronic components are gradually leading to a rethinking of the architectures of low voltage electrical distribution networks in buildings. These developments will allow the development of direct current or mixed alternating-direct current networks supplied by static converters. On this type of network, faults become more difficult to manage due to the power sources used. Indeed, the usual signatures of the short-circuit or the overload are no longer the same and will vary according to the converters used and the architecture of the network. For this, it is necessary to identify, by simulation, the most suitable protection topologies (by neutral systems for example) and to identify the typical fault signatures. Ultimately, these signatures will provide optimum detection devices.

High efficiency silicon cell irradiations for space

Historically, photovoltaics was developed in conjunction with the growth of space exploration. During the 90's, III-V multi-junction solar cells were progressively replaced silicon, for their superior performance & radiation hardness. Today, the context is favorable to a revival of space Si: increasing PV power needs, missions with moderate durations & constraints (LEO), very low cost & high performance terrestrial Si cells (p-type > 26% AM1.5g). However, for Si cells, conventional irradiation ageing methods & sequences (ECSS) are less appropriate. As the literature mainly comes from 80s - 90s, it is necessary to revisit the topic for the latest generation of passivated contacts Si cells (developed at CEA INES) and the unique double beam irradiation facilities of JANNuS platform - CEA Saclay.
This work is part of the SiNRJs project, at the interface between two CEA departments, dealing with space photovoltaics & materials irradiation. The scientific & technological approach adopted: 1. fabrication of passivated contact Si cells (HeT and/or Poly-Si) 2. Si cells optoelectronic characterizations before irradiation (IV AM1.5/AM0, EQE, etc.) 3. Cells & samples proton irradiations, in situ characterizations (Raman & El) 4. Ex situ characterizations after irradiations (IV AM1.5/AM0, EQE, etc) 5. Results analysis and synthesis. From a scientific point of view, the key issues to be addressed concern the understanding of the mechanisms/dynamics of defect creation/healing under this double electronic and ballistic excitation.

Decentralized Solar Charging System for Sustainable Mobility in rural Africa

A novel stand-alone solar charging station (SASCS) will be deployed of in Ethiopia. Seeing as 45% of Sub-Saharian Africa’s population lacks direct access to electricity grids and seeing as the the infrastructure necessary to reliably harness other energy sources is largely non-existent for many such populations in Ethiopia, introducing the SASCS among some of the country’s rural communities is a necessary effort. It could ostensibly invigorate communities’ agricultural sector and support those whose employment is rooted in farming. A SASCS could also serve to integrate renewable energy within the country’s existing electricity mix. CEA INES will act as a consulting Partner for the design and implementation of the solution (second life batteries, solar will be investigated). In addition, because of CEA INES’s established expertise in the installation of solar tools within various communities, the initiative will also provide know-how for the installation of the SolChargE in Ethiopia as well as cooperate on workshops for students and technicians employed by the project.

Development of flexible solar panel for space application

Traditional solar panels used to power satellites can be bulky with heavy panels folded together using mechanical hinges. Smaller and lighter than traditional solar panels, flexible solar array consists of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity. Being flexible, the solar array could roll or snap using carbon fiber composite booms to deploy solar panels without the aid of motors, making it lighter and less expensive than current solar array designs.
On the other hand, satellite trends are shifting away from one-time stints and moving towards more regular use in a constellation setting. In the last years, the desire increased to mass-produce low-weight satellites. Photovoltaic arrays companies are challenged on their capacity to face these new needs in terms of production capacity and versatility. And this is exactly where space photovoltaics can learn from terrestrial photovoltaics where this mass production and low-cost shift occurred years ago.
To tackle these new challenges, the Liten institute started to work on these topics two years ago. In the frame of this post-doc, we propose the candidate to work on the development of an innovative flexible solar panel architecture, using high throughput assembly processes. We are looking for a candidate with a strong experience in polymers and polymers processing, along with an experience in mechanics. A previous experience in photovoltaic will be greatly appreciated.

Optimal management of a tertiary energy system

In the solution concerning residential or tertiary sites that consume and produce electrical energy , the objective is to optimize the use of energy based on economic criteria or constraints networks (adaptation of the consumption) without introducing perturbations of user comfort. The purpose of this position is to develop a solution for "optimal management of the use of solar energy in a tertiary building integrating EV charging stations and storage." according to three objectives:
- Minimize the cost of consumption based on a dynamic tarif - Maximize the use of solar energy - Minimize the power demand of the network. Taking into account the LCOS (levelised Cost Of Storage) of battery . The Post- Doc will contribute and participate in: - Specification of tertiary system - Development of algorithms for managing a tertiary system - Deploy and test the proposed solution.

Simulation of silicon solar cells based on n-type material : modelling and architecture optimisation.

INES is actually developping new fabrication technologies for n-type silicon solar cells. Working on simulation of photovoltaic solar cells enables the speed-up of the developement of new technologies: physical interpretation of characterisation results, support to device design, optimisation of processing steps and evaluation of original designs.
This subject open for post-doc position is focused on the study of semi-empirical models for materials and process steps for n-type solar cells. These basic road-blocks will be assembled in a complete model by using a multi-scale simulation tool. In the end, this global model will allow optimising of the p-type emitter geometrical structure, the efficiency of carrier collection on the back side or the geometry of metallisation for electrical contacts.

Optimal Multi Agent System management of smart heat grid using thermal storage

The aim of this work is a major contribution to a software framework based on coupling of Modelica/Jade environments that will allow to model, to simulate and to optimise the control of smart heat grid through dedicated thermal storage models development: interface specification to control the storages in the grid, simplified models design of heat grid’s most crucial components to be integrated in Agents (production, distribution/storage, consumption) and design of consumption and production forecast models in order to manage anticipation and improve the overall efficiency. The evaluation of performance is based on the test case build in Modelica simulation environment.

In situ analytical device based on the LIBS technique for the characterization of hard environment liquid media

The proposed research project aims at developing an in situ analytical device based on the LIBS technique for the characterization of hard environment liquid media such as high temperature melting materials or highly volatile liquid metals used for development of low carbon energy production. The project involves two CEA teams specialized in LIBS instrumentation, analytical developments and high temperature environments.
At high temperature, the molten metals have a high surface reactivity leading to processes of oxidation, slagging … Non-intrusive analysis of this surface by traditional LIBS tools leads to a non-representative results of the molten metal chemical composition. In this project, a new-patented concept based on a mechanical stirring coupled to the LIBS device is developed in order to have a renewable and stable surface of the liquid metal. The aim is to have an on-line representative composition of the metal during the treatment process. The developed demonstrator will be validated for the analysis of impurities (at ppmw ranges) in liquid silicon (T> 1450 °C) during the purification process and the crystallization one for photovoltaic applications. At the end of the project, recommendations for in-situ analysis of liquid sodium (used as cooling fluid in nuclear reactors) will be given.