Dr Jianhua Zhao

Dr Jianhua Zhao landscape

Dr Jianhua Zhao received his bachelor and master degrees from Nanjing Institute of Technology, China (1978 and 1982). He received his PhD in solar cells from the University of New South Wales, Australia (1989). Since his master degree study in MIS solar cells, Dr Zhao has been involved with c-Si solar cell research for 40 years. After his PhD study, he stayed at UNSW as a senior research scientist and was later promoted to an associate professor. He was also an associate director of the Photovoltaics Research Centre at UNSW (1999 to 2006).

During his research in UNSW, Dr Zhao with his wife, Dr Aihua Wang, developed the high efficiency c-Si PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell) and PERL (Passivated Emitter, Rear Locally-diffused) cell structures, and demonstrated 25% energy conversion efficiency in 1999, which is the highest efficiency for c-Si solar cells until 2015. Dr Zhao was involved in developing the new surface passivation methods, the high life-time processing, c-Si cell structure designing, and processing optimisation. His experience covers a wide range of cell structures, including PERC cell of 22.3% efficiency, and rear emitter n-type cell of 22.7% efficiency. Dr Zhao and Dr Wang have set up 22 world records for mono and multi c-Si cell efficiencies, solar module efficiencies, solar car race, concentrator cells and modules, thermal photovoltaic, and silicon light emission. Dr Zhao has published 65 journal papers (including one in Nature), 117 conference papers, and 22 patents.

In 2004, Dr Zhao joined China Sunergy (Nanjing) Co. as a co-founder and CTO. He resigned from UNSW in 2006, and concentrated in China Sunergy. He developed and started commercial Selective Emitter (SE) cell production in 2007 as a world first. Similar SE technology had been widely included in the nowadays turnkey cell lines by most of the European equipment suppliers. He has also developed screen printed p-type PERC cells with efficiencies over 21% in 2014. Now, the PERC cells have taken more than half of the solar cell production in the world and representing a brilliant future in solar energy production.

Dr Zhao retired from China Sunergy in 2015, and worked as a private PV consultant for three years. He then joined the Tera Solar Technologies to provide technical support to the PERC and other high efficiency solar cell technologies to the PV industry.

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The 2023 QEPrize is awarded to Professor Martin Green, Professor Andrew Blakers, Dr Aihua Wang & Dr Jianhua Zhao

The Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering has been awarded for the invention and development of Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC) solar photovoltaic technology.