University of Verona (ITALY)

The department involved in the ALPINE project is the Department of Science and Technology, one important site of advanced research and graduate studies in biotechnology, materials research,  electronics and related fields. The research activity carried on by the group of Prof. Alessandro Romeo is focused on the material research for photovoltaic applications. Within collaborations with several research institutes, he has presented different works on CdTe solar cells in particular application of innovative substrates, back contacts and new configurations. A part of the research has been towards the optimization of CdTe solar cells on flexible substrates. Together with the thin film physics group at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, a world record efficiency for flexible CdTe solar cells with a polymer substrate has been achieved. A second part focuses on the development of alternative back contact that would allow not only high stability but also bifacial configuration. The cells fabricated with a transparent conductive oxide as back contact have performed efficiencies above 10% absorbing light from both sides. Alessandro Romeo is also involved in the industrialization project for a 18 MW CdTe photovoltaic production plant near Milan, the first thin film module fabrication facility in Italy. The Laboratory for Solar Energy Conversion in Verona has access to different characterization and deposition machines like vacuum evaporation, chemical bath deposition, I-V and C-V measurement system, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, micro-raman, etc…

Role in the project

UNIVR will be mainly involved in WP4 for the development and characterization of thin film solar cells and in WP5 for the integration of lasers into the industrial system. UNIVR has very good expertises on processing and manufacturing of thin film solar cells on rigid and flexible substrates  and it is also a consultant for industry on laser scribing systems. Moreover it will also contribute to WP9 together with UNIPR on the management of the research project.

The key personnel to be involved in the project activity includes:

Alessandro Romeo: graduated in Physics at the University of Parma in 1996 with a thesis of the title: "Thin Film solar cells of CuInGaSe2", in 1997 Alessandro Romeo attended a course of improvement for teaching of mathematics at the University of Parma. In October 1997 he obtained a studentship at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ), Switzerland, where he has developed a process for the deposition of thin film solar cells of CdTe/CdS obtaining cells with exceeding 10% efficiency. In March 1998 Mr. Romeo has started his PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, continuing research on thin film solar cells, as it is attested by a variety of articles on international reviews, national and international conference participation and international acknowledgments, in collaboration with various universities and solar cell companies among different European projects. Among many different works presented on the morphology and crystallization of the CdTe/CdS films he has introduced proton irradiation measurements on CdTe cells showing the high stability of CdTe solar cell under particle irradiation for space application. Moreover, he has presented a novel CdTe flexible solar cell on polymer films with a world record efficiency of 11%. In February 2002 he has obtained the title of doctor in physics with a thesis of the title: "Growth and Recrystallization of High Efficiency CdTe solar cells". From February 2002 to March 2004, he has worked as Post-Doc at ETHZ on alternative buffer layers of CIS cells, growing CIS with co-evaporation system and preparing buffer layer by vacuum evaporation, electron beam gun and chemical bath deposition. In April 2004 he has been appointed as Lecturer at the University of Verona where he worked on dye-sensitised solar cells and at the moment he is collaborating with ETHZ on thin film solar cells. In 2006 Alessandro gets involved in the industrialization project of a thin film photovoltaic modules production process with Arendi SrL (EuroEnergy-Marcegaglia group), being also partner of the company. The international relevance of Dr. Romeo is attested by several acknowledgments such as different international prizes, invitations to international conferences and chairs.