Development of Semitransparent AgroPhotovoltaic Integrated Hydrogen system at University of Exeter

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Project Title:

Development of Semitransparent AgroPhotovoltaic Integrated Hydrogen system


Renewable Energy, Department of Engineering, Penryn Campus, Cornwall

The University of Exeter’s Department of Engineering is inviting applications for a PhD studentship fully-funded by the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy to commence on 8 January 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter. For eligible students the studentship will cover Home or International tuition fees plus an annual tax-free stipend of at least £18,622 for 3.5 years full-time, or pro rata for part-time study.

Project Description

The project is part of a recently funded EPSRC project in the area of hydrogen integration into solar energy systems. With the discovery of Perovskite solar cells, the highest efficiency of a solar panel achieved is over 30%, however, such technology suffers from long-term stability. In comparison, silicon and other thin film-based solar technology provide higher stability. The efficiency of Si-based solar panels is achieved above 25%. Therefore, a large part of the solar spectrum is lost in various other forms. In addition, solar panels require a large amount of area, providing challenges with limited space. Therefore, manipulating the solar spectrum in such a way that such a system can be used for other applications while generating electrical power is beneficial. In recent times, photovoltaics in the agriculture field have become attractive solutions for generating electricity while maintaining agricultural growth.

This project will aim to design and develop a semi-transparent solar panel greenhouse for hydrogen generation. While semi-transparent solar panel offers lesser electrical efficiency, it provides adequate light management for agricultural use. The project will identify a range of semi-transparent solar photovoltaic modules which can transmit part of the visible wavelength for plant growths while maintaining inside temperatures for warmer environments. Manipulation of morphological structure and its effect on the overall efficiency of the small-scale solar devices will be characterised through A+A+A+ solar simulators in the University. In addition, the materials will be characterised through SEM, TEM, XRD for optimising their properties. The overall system will also be integrated into a suitable hydrogen generator for the use of heavy vehicles in the agricultural industries. Funding is primarily for UK nationals. International applicants need to be aware that you will have to cover the fees difference, your student visa, healthcare surcharge and other costs of moving to the UK to do a PhD.

Entry requirements

Applicants for this studentship must have obtained, or be about to obtain, Upper second class (or lower second Class with Industrial Experience) or higher UK Honours degree, in Material/Environmental Science, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in an appropriate area of science or technology.

If English is not your first language you will need to meet the required level as per our guidance at

The closing date for applications is midnight on Thursday 30th November 2023.

Interviews will be held at the University of Exeter Penryn Campus (or virtually) in the week commencing 10th December 2023.

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