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Powering Discovery

UToledo is Developing New Technologies to Fuel a More Efficient Future
Dr. Randall Ellingson in a lab

Our world requires scientific innovation to address the inefficient ways we find, produce and consume energy. UToledo is helping to power the future with bold, imaginative solutions that are more sustainable and renewable.

UToledo was chosen by the U.S. Department of Energy to host National Lab Day 2019, connecting academic experts with leading scientists from world-class facilities around the country. The event connected researchers exploring innovations in critical scientific challenges of our time, including renewable technologies, astrophysics, water management and materials manufacturing.

Dr. Gaber speaking at National Lab Day

Yanfa Yan, Ph.D., is developing ultra-high efficiency solar cells with the support of a $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and in partnership with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The new cells accelerate the conversion of the sun’s energy into electricity. Dr. Yan’s goal is to create a cell with more than 25% efficiency.

Dr. Yanfa Yan

Yan was awarded in November 2019 an additional $4.5 million from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop the next-generation solar panel in partnership with First Solar, one of the world's largest manufacturers of solar cells and a company that originated in UToledo laboratories.

Dr. Yanfa Yan

Randall Ellingson, Ph.D., is developing new solar technology that is lightweight, flexible, highly efficient and durable to power space vehicles using sunlight. Dr. Ellingson was awarded a $7.4 million contract by the U.S. Air Force to create the technology to improve the safety and effectiveness of Department of Defense missions.

Dr. Randall Ellingson

UToledo researchers Dr. Yan and Zhaoning Song, Ph.D., are boosting the performance of solar cells by creating a new material called a tandem perovskite solar cell. Their significant breakthrough came from improving the chemical formula process to make the solar cell, and was recently published in the journal Science.

Yanfa Yan and Dr. Zhaoning Song

Lighting accounts for one-fifth of global energy consumption — and Dr. Yan is part of an international team who discovered a single material that produces white light, opening a new frontier in energy-saving research. Due to its high efficiency, the new material — an inorganic compound that combines a lead-free double perovskite with sodium — could replace the phosphors used in LED lights. Their study was published in Nature.

Dr. Yan working with a student on a formula

UToledo’s Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization is strengthening Ohio as a catalyst for photovoltaics research and manufacturing. The Center was created in 2007 with nearly $50 million in support from the Ohio Department of Development and matching contributions from federal agencies and industry partners.

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