Every word counts

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

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

Professor Henry Snaith FRS

Key facts

Genre: Talk with live subtitling


2017 Kavli Medal and lecture by Professor Henry Snaith FRS.

Professor Henry Snaith FRS undertook his PhD at the University of Cambridge, working on organic photovolatics, then spent two years at the EPFL, in Switzerland as a post doc working on dye-sensitized solar cells. He returned to the Cambridge to take up a Fellowship for Clare College in 2006, and moved to the Clarendon Laboratory of Oxford Physics in 2007, where he now holds a professorship and directs a group researching in optoelectronics, specifically organic, hybrid and perovskite devices. His research is focused on developing new materials and structures for hybrid solar cells and understanding and controlling the physical processes occurring at interfaces. 

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 useable 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, namely metal halide perovskites, which have emerged over the last few years and promise to deliver the next generation of more efficient and cheaper photovoltaic cells.

Attending the event
This event is free to attend and no registration is required. Doors open at 6pm and seats are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need to use the live subtitles, please let the Events Team know. You can email them at: events@royalsociety.org

The Award
The Kavli Meal and Lecture is awarded biennially (in odd years) for excellence in all fields of science and engineering relevant to the environment or energy.

Event details

Wed 26 Apr 2017, 6:30pm

Live subtitling

Venue details

The Royal Society (Solar)
6-9 Carlton House Terrace
The Arts Council
The Arts Council
The Arts Council