UNSW Sydney Solar Researcher Wins Prestigious International Award

Associate Professor Brett Hallam has been named the 2020 recipient of the IEEE Stuart R Wenham Young Professional Award, for outstanding contributions to photovoltaics technology.

UNSW - UNSW Engineering’s Associate Professor Brett Hallam has won the
2020 IEEE Stuart R Wenham Young Professional Award, the highest award
globally in the field of photovoltaic technology for young researchers.

Associate Professor Hallam is regarded as the leading expert globally for hydrogen passivation in silicon solar cells. (Source: UNSW)

The annual award recognises one individual for their significant
contributions to the science and technology of photovoltaic energy
conversion, and their potential as a future leader in the field of

The award is named in honour and memory of the late UNSW solar
technology pioneer Professor Stuart Wenham, in recognition of his
profound contributions to photovoltaics.  

A/Prof. Hallam completed his PhD in photovoltaic engineering under
Prof. Wenham’s supervision at UNSW. He is regarded as the leading expert
globally for hydrogen passivation in silicon solar cells.

A/Prof. Hallam said: ”It’s a great honour to receive this award in
Stuart's name. He gave so much to the photovoltaic industry and was a
great mentor and friend to me.”

A/Prof. Hallam’s research is resulting in a significant increase in
the electrical output of solar panels, which will lead to cheaper
photovoltaic-generated electricity. His focus is on developing
techniques for manipulating the charge state of atomic hydrogen in
silicon to neutralise performance-limiting defects in solar cells. In
particular, avoiding a natural and ironic form of degradation for solar
panels that occurs under sunlight. This technology was developed and
commercialised under research projects funded by the Australian
Renewable Energy Agency.

He has managed multiple international collaborations with industrial
solar cell manufacturers and research institutes, achieving world-record
silicon solar cell efficiencies. As a consultant for Suntech Power, he
developed the innovative Pluto technology and was part of the team which
fabricated the world’s first p-type Cz silicon solar cell with an
efficiency greater than 20 per cent.

His work has earned him many accolades including the federal
government’s Discovery Early Career Research Award – for which he also
won one of four J.G. Russell Prizes -  and a NSW Premier’s Prize for
Science and Engineering (both in 2017). In 2018, he made the Renewable
Energy World Solar 40 Under 40 listing and create’s list of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers.

Australia’s “Father of Photovoltaics”, UNSW’s Scientia Professor Martin Green, nominated A/Prof. Hallam for the 2020 IEEE award.

He said: “I nominated Brett for this award because of the
significance of his work on hydrogenation of silicon cells. This has
helped push UNSW PERC cells to number one position worldwide, now
accounting for over 80% of global solar manufacturing capacity."

UNSW has held the world record for silicon solar cell efficiencies
for 30 of the last 37 years, thanks to the work of A/Prof. Hallam, Prof.
Green and their teams of world-leading researchers in this field.

This is the second time a UNSW researcher has received the IEEE Young Professional Award. Professor Bram Hoex won it in 2016.

A/Prof. Hallam was due to receive his award at the IEEE Photovoltaics
Specialists Conference in Canada next month, but it will now be held
virtually over several dates June – August.

IEEE, previously known as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers, is the world's largest technical professional organisation.
Its members are engineers, scientists, and allied professionals.