Gabriel Lozano Barbero. BBVA Foundation.

Solar energy is almost sold. This is why the scientific community has been exploring perovskite for years, a material which, if it replaces silicon in solar cells, would reduce costs. However, the industry is not at this point as you have to keep bombarding all the details of this product to remedy its Achilles heel: loss of performance. Precisely, because of his dynamism in this field, a young physicist from Cordoba, Gabriel Lozano Barbero, has just obtained the New Investigator Award in Experimental Physics.

Your ability for your optoelectronics research to generate commercially relevant applications and its participation in the development of the first model describing the optical behavior of perovskite-based solar cells, are the reasons why this young man is part of the list of Physics Prize, awarded annually by the Royal Spanish Society of Physics and the BBVA Foundation.

Lozano’s trajectory has been meteoric. Principal investigator of the Institute of Materials Sciences of Seville, from the Higher Scientific Research Center (CSIC), its contribution to the knowledge of perovskite and its way of interacting with sunlight is already important to be able to evolve into cells with an efficiency greater than 35%.

For the moment, the approximations, which are constant, are far from this percentage. So, for example, one of the best results came from the hand of the Belgian Research Institute IMEC, which designed a solar panel in perovskite and silicon with an efficiency of 23.9%.

They design a perovskite and silicon solar panel that breaks efficiency records with 23.9%

This model, that of the combination of the two materials, is a possibility that Lozano does not rule out for the future at a time when silicon is still predominant, despite its costs. So, as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reported when perovskite began to gain in relevance, the price of perovskite solar panels could range between 7.5 and 15 euro cents per watt. In contrast, that of solar technology at the time of this MIT article’s publication was 56 cents per watt. It is estimated that below 37 cents, solar would be in more than sufficient condition to compete with polluting energy sources.

For this reason, the promotion of knowledge about perovskite is seen by the industry as a key factor in expanding solar energy. And in this Lozano will continue which, in addition to this award, has received a start-up grant from the European Research Council to promote its research, with 1.5 million euros for the development of materials that come close to light sources the most effective. Previously, this physicist went through the Department of Natural Sciences of the University of Buenos Aires, the European Laboratory of Nonlinear Spectroscopy in Florence and the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto, in addition to his stay post-doctoral fellow at the Amsterdam Center for Atomic and Molecular Physics.