Department of Applied Physics

New Energy Technologies (Renewable)

The interest of the New Energy Technologies Group is on advanced energy systems, in particular nanomaterials for energy devices, sustainable energy systems, and multidisciplinary energy science.
Energy Technology Detail

Research on new energy technologies at Otaniemi Campus was originally initiated at the Department of Engineering Physics (Helsinki University of Technology) in 1979. Early work included solar energy and energy storage. 

The current research focus is on solar cells and fuel cells (materials and devices), and complex systemic issues with large-scale renewable energy schemes (systems). Specific topics include flexible and wearable nano-solar cells, nano-composites for low-temperature solid oxide fuel cells, energy-flexibility, energy frugality,.

The group is responsible for advanced and renewable energy teaching both on undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate levels within the PHYS-Programme in Engineering Physics. A specialization package in new energy technologies is provided. The group is also coordinating the Multidisciplinary Energy Sciences M.Sc. minor offered to all Aalto U students.

Group leader professor Peter Lund

Group leader

Peter Lund

The group is lead by Professor Peter D. Lund. Key people in the group include University Lecturer (Mr.) Janne Halme (solar cells), Research Fellow (Mrs.) Kati Miettunen (solar cells), Research Coordinator (Mr.) Imran Asghar (fuel cells), Post-Doc (Mrs.) Kerttu Aitola (solar cells). In addition, seven doctoral students (+four at VTT) and several B.Sc. and M.Sc-level research assistants are enrolled in the group. International visiting researchers are hosted on regular basis. Docents (adjunct) are Dr. Hannele Holttinen (VTT, wind power), Dr. Janne Halme (Aalto U, solar energy), Dr. Kati Miettunen (Aalto U/CHEM, solar cells), Dr. Imran Asghar (Aalto U, nanomaterials for energy).

Research

Dye-sensitized and perovskite nanostructured solar cells

A dye-sensitized solar cell (DSSC) is a molecular level electrochemical solar cell, where light absorption and current generation occurs in dye molecules attached to a nanostructured TiO2 electrode. Main advantages are a rather good efficiency with simple manufacturing methods, economic and abundant materials, and lending to high throughput roll-to-roll production.  DSSC research requires multidisciplinary research e.g. combining physics, chemistry, materials, end engineering.

The work on DSSCs was initiated in our group in 2001. The research focus is on cell materials and preparation methods, impedance spectroscopy of charge transport in the cells, optical characterization of the cells and identification of factors affecting their long-term stability. Special emphasis is laid on flexible DSSCs, e.g., on plastic or metal sheets  (collaboration with industries) and new materials, e.g. cobalt-complexes, perovskites. The efficiency obtained with our metal-based DSSCs is among the best in the world.

Key research topics include:

  • Flexible substrates incl. upscaling
  • Degradation mechanisms and long-term stability
  • Alternative materials
  • Charge transport processes 

Research highlights:

  • Carbon-nanostructured counter electrode
  • Fully flexible solar cell
  • Solar cell on paper
  • Stability and life-time models

Contact persons: Dr. Janne Halme, Dr. Kati Miettunen, Dr. Ghufran Hashmi, Professor Peter Lund ([email protected])

Low-temperature nanoceramic fuel cells

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert the chemical energy of fuel and oxidant directly into electricity and heat. Fuel cells offer high efficiency, low emissions, modularity and quiet operation. Fuel cells are a promising candidate for powering a wide range of applications, from portable electronics to micro-power plants.

Fuel cells research in our group started in the early 1990s on low-temperature PEM fuel cells and hydrogen storage.  Presently, we work on nano-composites for low-temperature SOFC fuel cells operating at 400-600 °C. The focus is on new nanomaterials to improve performance and lifetime of these cells. Research topics include:

  • Nanocomposites for fuel cells
  • Single-material designs
  • Electrochemical characterization
  • Laboratory unit-cells, planar cells

Research highlights:

  • GDC and SDC-carbonate nanostructures for LT-SOFC
  • LiZnNi nanomaterials
  • 1000+ mW/cm2 performance
  • Well-equipped fuel cell lab

Contact persons: Dr. Imran Asghar, Mr. Sami Jouttijärvi, Professor Peter Lund ([email protected])

Sustainable flexible energy systems

New energy technologies and systems link closely to global energy issues and future energy solutions as well as to distributed power generation.

The energy systems related work concentrates on multidisciplinary issues on large-scale integration of renewables into the energy system, energy system flexibility, market penetration and diffusion of new technologies, and global-scale changes. Energy system modelling on different levels has been important research tools, but also the integration of interdisciplinary aspects.

Two important research problems underway are: 1) How to enable fast and cost-effective penetration of new energy technologies; 2) How can large-scale new energy technology schemes in the energy system be managed effectively?

Research highlights:

  • Spatio-temporal load and solar resource model
  • P2H strategies for 2-3-folding renewable use
  • Electric-vehicle fleet model for integration
  • Energy flexibility optimization model

Contact persons: Mr. Jani Mikkola, Mr. Jyri Salpakari, Professor Peter Lund ([email protected])

Sustainable energy innovations and policies

Multi-disciplinary research on modern energy policies to face future challenges such as climate change combined with green energy economics opportunities. This is done in collaboration with 10 professors all around Finland. In addition, frugality and reverse innovations in energy are studied, using India as a case.

Research highlights:

  • Price-conditioned technology penetration model
  • Blueprint and scenarios for modern energy policy in Finland
  • Business growth models in renewable energy

Contact persons: Dr. Sanna-Liisa Sihto-Nissilä, Ms. Sini Numminen, Ms. Sannamari Pilpola, Ms. Mari Ratinen, Professor Peter Lund ([email protected])

Facilities

Key facilities include:

  • solar cell research lab
  • printed energy device lab
  • fuel cell research lab
  • degradation and ageing lab
  • simulation models for urban energy systems
  • techno-economic-socioeconomic models for technology penetration

Courses

PHYS-C1380 Multi-disciplinary energy perspectives (winter semester)
PHYS-C6370 Fundamentals of New Energy Sources (fall semester)
PHYS-E0483 Advances in New Energy Technologies (winter semester)
PHYS-E6570 Solar Energy Engineering (winter semester, not in 2017)
PHYS-E6571 Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technology (winter semester, 2017)
PHYS-E6572 Advanced Wind Power Technology (fall semester, 2016)
PHYS-E0581 Individual Assignments (any time)
PHYS-E0582 Special Course in Advanced Energy Technologies, winter semester 2017: Basics of climate change (MOOC, in cooperation with SITRA and several Finnish universities)

In addition, the group contributes to PHYS-labs works.

New courses:

Climate MOOC

Climate.now is a multidisciplinary module on the basics of climate change. It has primarily been created to provide a 5 ECTS course in higher education, or for self-study. Aalto U has partnered other university and SITRA in the development of the course. Coordination by Helsinki University.

Hands-on course (PHYS-E0581) in energy science in Energy Garage

The students are involved in practical applications in modern energy. Each hands-on topic is stand-alone and will give 1 point. Each will contain pre-home-work, tutoring session on construction, analysis, reporting and pinching session. Students will combine different skills in small teams, but importantly build and experiment on energy. Schedule is quite flexible.

Latest publications

Charge Transfer, Transportation, and Simulation

Muhammad Afzal, Mustafa Anwar, Imran Asghar, Peter Lund, Naveed Jhamat, Rizwan Raza, Bin Zhu 2020 Solid Oxide Fuel Cells: From Electrolyte‐Based to Electrolyte‐Free Devices

The effect of dodecylammonium chloride on the film morphology, crystallinity, and performance of lead-free Bi-based solution-processed photovoltaics devices

Nasir Ali, Sanam Attique, Sajid Rauf, Xiaoyu Wang, Amir Khesro, Shahid Ali, Muhammad Imran Asghar, Shikuan Yang, Peter D. Lund, Huizhen Wu 2020 Solar Energy

Preface for the 5th NANOENERGY conference special issue

Mahmood Aliofkhazraei, Nasar Ali, Peter Lund 2020 International Journal of Hydrogen Energy

Outlook on biofuels in future studies

Reza Alizadeh, Peter D. Lund, Leili Soltanisehat 2020 Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews

Performance evaluation of complex electricity generation systems

Reza Alizadeh, Ramin Gharizadeh Beiragh, Leili Soltanisehat, Elham Soltanzadeh, Peter D. Lund 2020 Energy Economics

Deep decarbonization of urban energy systems through renewable energy and sector-coupling flexibility strategies

Vahid Arabzadeh, Jani Mikkola, Justinas Jasiūnas, Peter D. Lund 2020 Journal of Environmental Management

Climate-friendly but socially rejected energy-transition pathways

Simon Bolwig, Torjus Folsland Bolkesjø, Antje Klitkou, Peter D. Lund, Claire Bergaentzlé, Kristian Borch, Ole Jess Olsen, Jon Gustav Kirkerud, Yi kuang Chen, Philip Andreas Gunkel, Klaus Skytte 2020 Energy Research and Social Science
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database

Latest news

Peter Lund. Photo: Anni Hanén.
Honoured Published:

Professor Peter D. Lund awarded high Chinese Honour

Renewable energy expert granted Jiangsu Award and Medal of Friendship
HRTEM of SrTiO2
Research & Art Published:

New materials for fuel cells

Researchers from Aalto University and Northeastern University (China) have demonstrated a solid oxide fuel cell based on a single-oxide SrTiO2 electrolyte. A high power density of 620 mW per cm2 with hydrogen as fuel was obtained. The electrolyte forms a mixed proton and oxygen ion conductor with a core-shell structure
Honoured Published:

World Society of Sustainable Energy Technologies Innovation Award to Sino-Finnish research on fuel cells

Professors Bin Zhu from China University of Geosciences and Peter Lund from Aalto University were awarded World Society of Sustainable Energy Technologies Innovation Award for their work on advanced fuel cells.
Energy Storage Futures events have aroused a lot of interest and interesting discussions. Photo: Glen Forde/Aalto Energy Platform
Research & Art Published:

Growing use of renewable energy presents challenge for energy storage and markets

Renewable energy requires more efficient and flexible energy system.

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