AsianScientist (Apr. 1, 2013) – A solar “power” couple have been honored with an award recognizing visionary Australian citizens living and working abroad.
Drs. Jianhua Zhao and Aihua Wang were joint recipients of an Advance Global Australian Award for contributions to the field of clean technology.
The award ceremony, which was organized in partnership with the Australian Government and the Australian Financial Review, was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney on March 21, 2013.
The pair, who are the first Chinese-Australians ever to receive this award, also won a special Australia in the Asian Century Award for their contribution in the Asia region. Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, also made a video speech to them to endorsing the award.
“Jianhua and Aihua were excellent students and staff members here at the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and prolific researchers,” says Scientia Professor Martin Green, Director of the ARC Photovoltaics Center of Excellence, and who nominated Dr. Zhao and Dr. Wang for the award.
“They took us to the position where we can now make the most efficient cells in the world and nobody yet has been able to catch up. They are both well-respected internationally and have played an influential role in establishing China as a major producer of solar power and PV technology.”
Zhao, who completed his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering at UNSW under Professor Green in 1989, was affiliated with the University as a lecturer, researcher, and associate professor until 2006.
In 1999 the pair developed the high efficiency crystallized Silicon PERL cell and set a new record, demonstrating 25 percent energy conversion efficiency, which remains the highest level achieved in the world so far.
In 2004, Zhao co-founded the Chinese solar cell and module manufacturing company China Sunergy, where he is now Chief Technology Officer and Director. Wang, who also completed her Ph.D. degree and worked at UNSW for more than a decade, is the company’s Vice-President of research and development.
The duo are now leading China Sunergy’s participation in an 863 program, a National High Technology Research and Development Program in China that supports and encourages the development and commercialization of solar cells with a high efficiency rate (over 20 percent) and a low production cost.
China Sunergy’s lab results reached an efficiency rate of 20.29 percent last December, and the objective for the next phase of research and development is to stabilize this efficiency rate and to start pilot production by the end of 2013.
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