| This page was developed by the Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab. |
and is part of our collection of Open Source Appropriate Technology on Appropedia.
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Welcome to the home of the Pearce Research Group at Michigan Tech in Open Sustainability Technology housed within the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and Electrical & Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. This research group focuses on open and applied sustainability, which is the application of science and innovation to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, whilst living within the limits of supporting ecosystems. Specifically we are interested in exploring the way solar energy can be used to provide clean sustainable electricity through photovoltaic devices and how open source appropriate technologies and open-source hardware like RepRap 3-D printing can drive decentralized local production and manufacturing.
 Current Research Projects
|Photovoltaic Materials, Electronic Device Physics, and Solar Photovoltaic Systems Projects||Lead Members|
| Given the state of the art in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology and favorable financing terms it is clear that PV has already obtained grid parity in specific locations and as installed costs continue to decline, grid electricity prices continue to escalate, and industry experience increases, PV will become an increasingly economically advantageous source of electricity over expanding geographical regions.
We intend to further reduce the costs by developing an ultra-high efficiency indium gallium nitride (InGaN) solar cell.  The band gap of InGaN can be tuned from 0.7eV-3.4eV by adjusting the ratio of indium and gallium in the film so a multi-layered cell covers the entire range of the solar spectrum. Thus, a well-designed InGaN solar cell can absorb and convert a much higher fraction of the sun’s light energy into electricity. The first stage of research will focus on the characterization and understanding of InGaN as a semiconducting material. The final stage of research will use the accumulated data and knowledge to determine the number of stacked layers and the relative concentrations of indium and gallium within each that maximizes light absorption and, more importantly, electricity generation.
| Joseph Rozario, Chenlong Zhang
| Perfect Absorbers: Light impinging on a metal surface produces surface waves (Surface Plasmon Polaritons (SPP)) along the metal-dielectric interface when it interacts with the collective oscillations of free electrons in the metal.
This research project aims to improve the efficiency of commercial thin film solar cells using resonant plasmonic nanostructures. The project proposes the use of a wide-angle, polarization–independent, broadband “perfect absorbers” capable of achieving absorption throughout the entire solar spectrum while reducing semiconductor absorber layer thicknesses, which reduces material deposition time, quantities of material used, embodied energy embodied greenhouse gas emissions, and ultimately economic costs. The proposed cell design uses silver (Ag) nanostructures to create a “black” perfect absorber that can be integrated into the manufacture of commercial hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) PV devices. See Plasmonic Perfect Meta-Absobers for a-Si PV Devices, Ellipsometry protocol: MOST and Focussed Ion beam (FIB)_protocol:_MOST.
|An important factor in decreasing the costs of PV systems is implementing a proper system design which effectively utilizes the modules to their greatest efﬁciency. Thus the motivation of this project is to properly account for meteorological factors which affect the performance of PV modules, and to suggest best practices for reducing losses and increasing yields for PV systems. See: OSOTF and Effects of spectral albedo on photovoltaic devices||Rob Andrews|
|Our group is often asked to design small PV systems for remote applications, green applications, etc. These small projects are all open sourced so that others may benefit and improve upon the design. Solar powered distributed customized manufacturing , Small system photovoltaic design-||Sai Ravi Chandra|
|Open Source Distributed Manufacturing||Lead Member|
| The technological evolution of the 3-D printer (or rapid prototyper), widespread internet access and inexpensive computing has made a new means of open design capable of accelerating self-directed sustainable development. Open source 3-D printers, such as the RepRap, enable the use of designs in the public domain to fabricate open source appropriate technology (OSAT), which are easily and economically made from readily available resources by local communities to meet their needs. There is potential for open source 3-D printers to assist in driving sustainable development. This project is developing solar powered self-replicating open-source 3-D printers and waste plastic extruders - capable of making primary components of solar photovoltaic systems from recycled waste. The project has both technical components in actually designing and building the devices, but also concerns questions of life cycle analysis. - specifically - Does this approach make sense from an ecological footprint, emissions, and embodied energy perspectives?
See the plan: J. M Pearce, C. Morris Blair, K. J. Laciak, R. Andrews, A. Nosrat and I. Zelenika-Zovko, “3-D Printing of Open Source Appropriate Technologies for Self-Directed Sustainable Development”, Journal of Sustainable Development 3(4), pp. 17-29 (2010).
|The purpose of this project is to determine mechanical properties of polymer components printed with the open-source 3-D printers like the RepRap. The results of the mechanical testing will be used for engineering analysis of parts designed to be created with the RepRap. See :Mechanical testing of polymer components made with the RepRap 3-D printer||Brennan Tymrak|
||Life cycle analysis of distributed polymer recycling, Development and feasibility of applications for the RepRap 3-D printer||Bas Wijnen|
|A RecycleBot is a waste plastic extruder - that can take household polymer waste and turn it into valuable 3-D printer feedstock. This project focuses on designing, building and testing an extruder for the RepRap that uses polymer waste as a feedstock. The Recyclebot v.2.0 is based off of the Waste plastic extruder and Open source controller for polymer extruder||Allie Glover|
|Low cost, expanded microchannel heat exchangers can be made using a laser welding techniques. The Open source laser system for polymeric welding provides a lower cost option for manufacturing heat exchangers with a wide range of applications from development technologies to automotive uses.||Brennan Tymrak|
|Open source hardware (OSHW) consists of physical artifacts of technology designed and offered in the same manner as free and open-source software (FOSS). MOST is working on open-source scientific hardware using Arduino microcontrollers and RepRaps in addition to our standard work in OSAT.||Bas Wijnen|
 Completed Projects
|Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2013|
|Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2011-2012|
 Open Access Policy
The group makes its best effort to open source its literature reviews and protocols as the research is taking place and provides direct access to our research protocols, experimental designs, and equipment. In addition, the group publishes in open access journals as much as possible and posts its pre-prints in open access databases. To browse pre-prints from most of Dr. Pearce's past work go here. Normally these pre-prints/final drafts are released under CC-BY-SA as soon as we are able. You can also read more details about completed projects here.
 Group Links
- ↑ K. Branker, M.J.M. Pathak, J.M. Pearce, A Review of Solar Photovoltaic Levelized Cost of Electricity, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15, pp.4470-4482 (2011). DOI and Open access
- ↑ D.V.P. McLaughlin & J.M. Pearce, "Progress in Indium Gallium Nitride Materials for Solar Photovoltaic Energy Conversion", Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A 44(4) pp. 1947-1954 (2013).
This category has the following 7 subcategories, out of 7 total.
Pages in category "MOST"
The following 45 pages are in this category, out of 45 total.
Media in category "MOST"
This category contains only the following file.
- 2012 case for OSAT.pdf