Thue Trofod honored for his research in printed solar cells

Thursday 15 Dec 16

Postdoc Thue Trofod from DTU Energy has received the Jorck Foundation Research Award 2016 in recognition of his dedication and good research on the latest generation of polymer solar cells. The award was presented by Chief Justice Poul Søgaard at a ceremony in the Danish Supreme Court.

Ever since childhood Thue Trofod has been fascinated by renewable energy and solar cells, so when offered the opportunity in 2010 to join research into polymer solar cells at DTU, he didn’t hesitate.

DTU Energy does research on solar cells made of plastic (polymers) that require very small resource and energy consumption in the production when compared to conventional silicon solar cells. In addition, polymer solar cells can be printed on a large scale using inexpensive production methods known from the printing industry.

"I couldn’t wait to be part of that, not least the industrial approach to making the polymer solar cells viable and ready for market entry," says Thue Trofod, a firm believer in doing research with a practical purpose and not just for the sake of research. And practical research was indeed what he encountered at DTU Energy where he first did his Master’s thesis and then his Ph.D. He  is on his third postdoc appointment.

"It's nice to get an award, but we (the team; red.) are super together. I do, however, look forward to be able to play with a few ideas that I have long had but not been able to afford to research"
Thue Trofod, postdoc, DTU Energy

"It's so easy for researchers to stay in the laboratory, and solar cell researchers may have a tendency to stay focused on small solar cells. They have better conversion efficiencies and are easier to measure, leading to good articles in Science and Nature. At DTU, we research in printed solar cells for practical purposes."

Thue Trofod have done researche for six years on polymer solar cells, gradually moving from polymers to a new type of printed solar cells called perovskite solar cells, a hybrid of organic and inorganic solar cells.

"Perovskites appeared for four or five years ago. Organic polymer solar cells are easy and cheap to produce, but they suffer from low conversion efficiency. Inorganic materials have a higher conductivity, so by making a hybrid between the organic and inorganic, called perovskite, we get the best of both."

Thue Trofod received the Jorck Foundation Research Award 2016 in recognition of his great commitment and good research.

"Actually, I didn’t intend to become a scientist, but I felt the good vibes in the team from the very first day. They have a drive and a shared mission, and this has caused me to stay. It is still super fun to go to work, even though I am still temporarily employed as a postdoc. "

 Thue Trofod would have liked the entire team to get the prize and not only him."It's nice to get an award, but we are super together. I do, however, look forward to be able to play with a few ideas that I have long had but have not had the resources to carry out."

The 200,000 DKK prize money will provide Thue Trofod the opportunity to pursue his new ideas, hopefully paving the way for a new measurement method which will be able to identify certain key electrical properties of printed solar cells. This will provide new insights into how and why these properties varies over the solar cell area, a phenomenon that is a pronounced obstacle to developing printed commercial solar cells.

About the Price from Jorck Foundation Research Award

The Jorck Foundation Research Award 2016 was presented by Supreme Court President Poul Søgaard, chairman of the board of the Jorck Foundation, at an event in the Danish Supreme Court on 14 December 2016. In addition to the honor, the prize consists of DKK 200,000 to be used for the prizewinner's research and teaching.
The award was given to three young researchers at the recommendation of selected Danish universities. Among the award winners was also associate professor Jacob Wittrup Schmidt from DTU Civil Engineering, who research on innovative solutions for fiber composites

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