South East - Gabrielle Bourret-Sicotte

Gabrielle graduated from University College London (UCL) with a 1st Class Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering in 2015. Continuing her passion for renewable energies, she undertook a PhD in material sciences at the University of Oxford, where she currently focuses on solar photovoltaics. Gabrielle envisages that her research on silicon solar cells will have a significant impact on the industry, making cells more efficient and enhancing the availability of solar electricity as a global alternative energy solution.

Gabrielle's novel method of optimising solar cell efficiencies is internationally recognised and has achieved commendation through multiple publications and a selection for a journal cover. Her work has been presented at numerous international conferences, and Gabrielle's enthusiasm earned her the prize for 'best student presenter' at the 2017 GADEST conference in Georgia. This passion for renewables is also reflected through her previous work, which includes time spent developing Turkish wind farms for EDF Energies Nouvelles.

When not in the lab, you have most opportunities finding Gabrielle hiking with her friends through Norwegian fjords or rock climbing in her home country of France. She hopes to combine her love for the great outdoors with renewable energy and sustainable development in her future career.

Shielded hydrogen passivation: Making efficient solar cells

Renewable energy is needed to solve the current energy crisis and ultimately reduce the effect of global warming. Solar photovoltaics are a great candidate as the earth receives 1,000 times more solar energy every year than its current electricity consumption. To make solar panels the norm however, they must become economically viable.

In this lecture, I introduce the concept of grid parity and how increasing panel efficiency differs from reducing module cost. Increased panel efficiency can be achieved with Shielded Hydrogen Passivation (SHP) which is a novel method we invented as part of my DPhil. It introduces hydrogen into silicon which is widely known to improve final panel efficiency, and does so at very low temperatures allowing for the passivation of 3rd generation solar cells. In this way, innovating materials science is exploiting the universe's most abundant element and leading the way in solving one of the greatest crises humanity has faced.

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