Emeritus Professor Andrew Blakers

BSc, PhD
Professor of Engineering
ANU College of Engineering, Computing and Cybernetics
T: +61 2 6125 5905

Areas of expertise

  • Photovoltaic Power Systems 400808
  • Electrical Energy Generation (Incl. Renewables, Excl. Photovoltaics) 400803
  • Electrical Energy Storage 400804
  • Electrical Energy Transmission, Networks And Systems 400805

Research interests

I am Professor of Engineering at the Australian National University. In the 1980s and 1990s I co-produced silicon solar cells with world record efficiencies. I was a lead developer of the PERC silicon solar cell, for which I was joint winner of the top global engineering Queen Elizabeth Prize in 2023. PERC technology comprises half of all solar panels ever made, and has cumulative panel sales of US$150 billion, and is mitigating 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions through displacement of coal. Currently I focus on analysis of energy systems with 80-100% penetration by wind and solar photovoltaics supported by storage for which I was joint winner of the 2018 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. Our team have developed a comprehensive global atlas of a million off-river pumped hydro energy storage sites which is highly influential in the renewable energy storage industry, and with projects stemming from the atlas worth tens of billions of dollars.

Recent short articles and papers are here

Biography

Employment: Engineering at ANU (1991-); Fellowships: ARC Senior (ANU, 1992-97); ARC Queen Elizabeth II (UNSW, 1986-91); Alexander von Humboldt (Max Planck Institut für Festkörperforschung, Germany, 1989-90); Radio Research Board (UNSW, 1984-86).

Recent distinctions

Grants and industry engagement

  • Design & fabrication of the 1st reported silicon solar cells with 18%, 19%, 20% and 22% efficiency
  • First author of the first 3 papers for PERC silicon solar cell technology which represents about half of all solar panels ever made. Cumulative PERC panel sales are ~A$250 billion. PERC modules are mitigating about 2% of global emissions through displacement of coal generation.
  • Co-inventor of Sliver solar cell technology, the subject of a $240 million commercialisation effort by Transform Solar (Origin Energy & Micron) ($12 million royalties paid to ANU)
  • Founded the solar cell research group at ANU in 1991 (currently 60 staff and PhD students)
  • Research funds procured since 1979 (as a Chief Investigator, current dollars) ~A$180 million
  • Leading the 100% renewable energy futures group and the global pumped hydro energy storage project

 

Available student projects

100% renewable energy

Projects are available in the general area of 100% renewable energy. This could include examining options for high levels of renewables in a particular country, province or city; calculating pathways to high levels of renewables; options for PV panels in densely populated countries such as floating, maritime, rooftop and agrivoltacs; balancing high levels of renewables with extra transmission and storage; critiques of renewables modelling by organisations such as the IEA, IPCC or national & state Governments; Renewable Energy Zones; and renewable electrification of transport, air & water heating and industrial heating.

Publications

Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  30 May 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers