The multi-institutional DST-APEX-II project on solar energy, in which one of the partners is IISER Pune’s Prof. Satishchandra Ogale, has been awarded the prestigious Newton Prize for 2017. The project was initially run at CSIR-NCL in Phase-I and during the past two years at IISER Pune in Phase-II.
Newton Fund was established in the UK in 2014 with an aim to promote economic development and social welfare of UK and various partner countries, by strengthening science and innovation capabilities. The Newton Prize recognizes excellence in research and innovation among Newton Fund projects. This year, more than 150 Newton funded projects, fellowships or other awards had applied for the Prize from India, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Of these, 25 have been shortlisted and a total of 5 winners were announced: two from India, one each from Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. The prize includes GBP 200,000 to each winner.
The prize ceremony was held November 1, 2017 in the presence of Hon. Mr. Y.S. Chowdary, MOS Science & Technology, Hon. Mr Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, United Kingdom & Prof. Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, FRS, Nobel Laureate, President of the Royal Society and Newton Prize Committee Chair.
The APEX project aims at developing low cost solution-processed next generation solar cells. Prof Satish Ogale, who works in the area of clean energy, has been a part of the project since its inception. His group’s contributions to the project include developing new materials, methods and device architectures for enhancing solar cell efficiency including a novel method for entirely room temperature process for fabricating solar cells on hard as well as flexible substrates, and developing high efficiency cells. His group has been the first in India to reach hybrid perovskite solar cell efficiency of 17%. Using lab-made solar cells, his group has also developed simple applications such as Farmer’s cap for charging cell phones, water splitting for hydrogen generation etc.