SPECIFIC awarded Queen’s Anniversary Prize

FLEXIS would like to congratulate our colleagues and friends at Swansea University and SPECIFIC for being awarded a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of its Materials Science and Engineering research that is leading a revolution in renewable energy technologies, particularly solar electricity and heat generation and storage.

The official announcement of the prize-winners was made at a reception at St James’s Palace last November and was followed by a prize-winners’ reception and dinner at the Guildhall City of London on 16 February 2022.

In the ten years since SPECIFIC was founded, its achievements include:

  • The world’s first dye-sensitised solar cell deposited directly onto a steel substrate which is a critical enabler to large-scale manufacturing of building-integrated photovoltaics.
  • A reduction of the time to provide low-cost solution-processable photovoltaics from 30 minutes to 2.5 seconds.
  • New methods that reduce the manufacturing time for dye-sensitive solar cells from several hours to less than two minutes.
  • The UK’s first energy positive classroom demonstrating that solar energy can power and heat buildings.
  • Collaborative projects with 211 businesses and 128 research and academic partners in 17 countries.
  • Six spin-out companies creating jobs and supporting an innovative pipeline for steel building materials.
  • Working with two local housing associations to develop 18 low carbon homes for social housing tenants.

SPECIFIC is also applying technology around the world by building solar-powered buildings in India and working with Mexican textile screen printers to produce solar modules on flexible materials. In South Africa, it is using photovoltaic and solar thermal technologies to dewater sludge at a treatment plant and is also creating solar-powered classrooms in Zambia.

Professor Dave Worsley, Head of Materials Science & Engineering and Principal Investigator at both FLEXIS and FLEXISApp said:

“SPECIFIC was delighted to receive a Queens Anniversary Prize for work on novel solar energy materials and deployment of solar powered active buildings last week.  The honour recognises the incredible work the teams have delivered over ten years which offers both real changes in construction and supports the Welsh Government’s just transition to net zero, in particular, to eliminate fuel poverty.  The team are invigorated by this award and the potential it signposts for what can be achieved as we combine our energies with FLEXIS partners and address the wider net zero challenge as part of N0W SWITCH.”

Sustainability spokesman for Tata Steel in the UK, Martin Brunnock, said: “The work which SPECIFIC is doing on new coatings for steel and active buildings is central to Tata Steel’s product development and construction strategy.

“It is really exciting to see how the active buildings we have delivered together are working in the UK and India and the recognition through this Queen’s Anniversary Prize is testament to the long-standing research, training and skills work pioneered and led by the Materials Department at Swansea. We very much look forward to the next stage of our net zero journey together.”