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Sunhusky.png By Michigan Tech's Open Sustainability Technology Lab.

Wanted: Students to make a distributed future with solar-powered open-source 3-D printing.
Contact Dr. Joshua Pearce or Apply here

MOST: Projects and Publications, Methods, Lit. reviews, People, Sponsors
Twitter updates @ProfPearce


Prof. Joshua M. Pearce
Hi. I am cross appointed as an Associate Professor in the Materials Science & Engineering and the Electrical & Computer Engineering at Michigan Tech. I currently run the Michigan Tech in Open Sustainability Technology (MOST) group. I am also an affiliated faculty member in the graduate program in Environmental and Energy Policy at MTU and an adjunct professor in Mech and at Queens University, Canada where I run the Queens Applied Sustainability Group. Please feel free to drop me a line

Webpages: Queen's faculty page, LinkedIn, QSpace, Thingiverse, Youmagine, E4C, Scribd, RepRap wiki, Research ID, shareable, SSRN, P2P Foundation,, Google Scholar,Research gate, 80000hrs, Frontiers, Loop, Orcid, Amazon, Elsevier, Amazon author's page, Libre3D, Opensource, Twitter @ProfPearce, Science of Science Policy, Open Science Framework, Bepress Selected Works, Ultimaker

For me: MOST tasks, Userspace, Things to do, MOST Appropedia pageview counter run for MOST, mass delete, MTU UG research opp post

Pearce Publications: Energy Conservation Energy Policy Industrial SymbiosisLife Cycle Analysis Materials Science Open Source Photovoltaic Systems Solar CellsSustainable Development Sustainability Education


Joshua M. Pearce received his Ph.D. in Materials Engineering from the Pennsylvania State University. He then developed the first Sustainability program in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and helped develop the Applied Sustainability graduate engineering program while at Queen's University, Canada. He currently is an Associate Professor cross-appointed in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering and in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Michigan Technological University where he runs the Open Sustainability Technology Research Group. His research concentrates on the use of open source appropriate technology to find collaborative solutions to problems in sustainability and poverty reduction. His research spans areas of electronic device physics and materials engineering of solar photovoltaic cells, and RepRap 3-D printing, but also includes applied sustainability and energy policy. His research is regularly covered by the international and national press and it is continually ranked in the top 0.1% on He is the editor-in-chief of HardwareX, a journal dedicated to open source scientific hardware and his is the author of the Open-Source Lab:How to Build Your Own Hardware and Reduce Research Costs.

Current teaching:

Research Interests

Solar cellt.png This user is a member with interest and knowledge of Photovoltaics.
Oshw-logo.png This user is a member with interest and knowledge of Open Source Hardware.
Reprap.png This user is a member with an interest and knowledge of 3-D printing.
My research 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 I am interested in exploring the way solar energy can be used to provide clean sustainable electricity through photovoltaic devices and how the sharing of open source hardware and software can create sustainable and equitable means of production (e.g. create open source appropriate technology and other free and open source hardware).

Photovoltaic Materials and Electronic Device Physics of Solar Cells:

Photovoltaic electrical production is a technologically feasible, economically viable, environmentally benign, sustainable, and socially equitable solution to society’s future energy requirements. If anyone is still concerned about the energy payback of solar cells please read this. There is currently a big debate in the photovoltaic industry on how to get low cost solar electricity. Is it better to go with high efficiencies and pay more up front -- or really push the costs down with junk materials and accept an efficiency penalty. I don't know which way is better so I do research on both approaches.

Solar installations have grown by more than 600% across both residential and commercial properties in the past 9 years – a compound industry growth rate of 76% [4].

Indium gallium nitride - ultra high efficiency moderate cost

  • This research intends to radically reduce the costs of photovoltaic devices by developing an ultra-high efficiency indium gallium nitride (InGaN) solar cell. The primary reason InGaN shows such incredible promise as a photovoltaic material is the ability to modify its band gap by adjusting the ratio of indium and gallium in the film. A multi-layered cell of InGaN can be made with band gaps ranging from 0.7eV (InN) to 3.4eV (GaN) which covers the entire range of the solar spectrum. See some of our latest work here: S. Keating, M.G. Urquhart, D.V.P. McLaughlin and J.M. Pearce, “Effects of Substrate Temperature on Indium Gallium Nitride Nanocolumn Crystal Growth”, Crystal Growth & Design, 11 (2), pp 565–568, 2011. open access

Amorphous silicon - moderate efficiency but low cost

  • Amorphous silicon PVT - Hydrogenated amorphous silicon (a-Si:H) based solar cells are the least expensive at a given production level and posses an excellent ecological balance sheet. The ecological and economic promise of a-Si:H solar cells is currently incomplete because of the light induced degradation of its electronic properties known as the Staebler-Wronski Effect (SWE). Numerous theories have been proposed to explain SWE, and my work has focused on the analysis of experimental evidence for a complex SWE mechanism - with an eye on controlling and eliminating the problem. Recent publications on the technical aspects of a-Si:H solar cells.

Current Projects in Applied Sustainability and Green Engineering

Solar Photovoltaic Systems Engineering

Open Source Appropriate Technology and Sustainable development

Completed projects and publications

Michigan Tech

2017 Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects & Publications
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Popular Audience Articles 2017
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2016
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Popular Audience Articles 2016

Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2015
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Popular Audience Articles 2015

Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2014
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2013
Michigan Tech Open Sustainability Technology Group Completed Projects and Publications 2011-2012


Helpinghandsjmp2.jpg This user is a member with interest and knowledge of Service Learning.

I am also a strong proponent for service learning in engineering and making change. Utilizing appropriate technology projects to motivate students to learn physics. Also using service learning and commissioned assignments to solve real world environmental problems. Why students should come to MTU [8]

Courses with a service learning component

I have used Appropedia to support the following courses:

  • APSC100 - Engineering - First Year Project course
  • MECH370 - Materials Processing
  • Mech425 - Engineering for Sustainable Development
  • MECH820 - Solar Photovoltaic Materials, Cells and Systems Engineering
  • MECH836 - Applied Sustainability and CMAS801
  • MY3701 - Introduction to Semiconductor Materials Science and Engineering
  • MY4777/MY5777/EE4777/EE5777 Open-source 3-D printing
  • MY5970 - Solar Hacking
  • MY5490/EE5490 - Solar Photovoltaic Science and Engineering
  • PH261 - Physics of Energy and the Environment
  • PH254 - Introduction to Nanotechnology

Resources for Educating Children

The International Journal for Service Learning

I am the manuscript editor for the IJSLE. The International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering (IJSLE) is a peer-reviewed electronic journal offered free, semi-annually, over the World Wide Web. The Journal welcomes manuscripts based on original work of students and researchers with a specific focus or implication for service learning in engineering, engineering entrepreneurship in service, or related service learning pedagogy.

With an increasing number of individuals and institutions of higher education becoming involved in service learning and entrepreneurship in service learning, the IJSLE is an invaluable resources for students, faculty, practicing engineers and local communities. With articles relating to the latest design and research pertinent to local communities, the faculty-reviewed articles in each issue provide the reader with timely information related to:

   * Engineering Design Projects as Service
   * Engineering Research Projects as Service
   * Engineering-Related Entrepreneurial Projects as Service
   * Pedagogy in Engineering-Related Service Learning

If you are contributing to Appropedia - you should seriously consider submitting a manuscript once your project has come together