Meet your Speakers

100% Renewable Energy Session Speakers

Prof Andrew Blakers

Professor of Engineering, Australian National University

Andrew Blakers is Professor of Engineering at the Australian National University where he founded a solar PV research group in 1991. He was responsible for the design and fabrication of silicon solar cells with world record efficiencies of 18%, 19%, 20% and 22%. He was co-inventor of the PERC silicon solar cell, which has 90% of the global solar market and cumulative module sales of US$60 billion. PERC cell deployment is mitigating 0.8% of global Greenhouse gas emissions through displacement of coal. Prof Blakers engages in detailed hour-by-hour analysis of energy systems with 50-100% penetration by wind and photovoltaics for which he was co-winner of the 2018 Eureka Prize for Environmental Research. Prof Blakers’ team developed a comprehensive global atlas of off-river pumped hydro energy storage sites.

Dr Thomas Reindl

Deputy CEO, Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), National University
of Singapore (NUS)
Cluster Director, Solar Energy Systems

Thomas REINDL is Deputy CEO of the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) and Principal Research Fellow at the National University of Singapore (NUS). He started with photovoltaics (PV) in 1992 at the SIEMENS Corporate R&D Labs. After holding several management positions at SIEMENS and running one of the leading German PV systems integration companies as Chief Operating Officer, he joined SERIS in 2010 and soon became Director of the Solar Energy System cluster. During his time at SERIS, he won public research grants in excess of SGD 20 million, founded 2 spin-off companies and authored strategic scientific papers such as the “PV Roadmap for Singapore”. Dr. Reindl holds a Master in Chemistry, a Ph.D. in Natural Sciences and an MBA from INSEAD, all awarded with highest honors. His research interest are high-performance PV and embedded systems, technoeconomic road-mapping and the reliable integration of renewable energies into power systems.

He is also the Principal Investigator of the “Floating PV testbed” project in Singapore

Prof Pierre Verlinden

Managing Director of AMROCK
Adjunct Professor at Sun Yat-Sen University and University of New South Wales

Dr Pierre J. Verlinden is a PV technology expert and has been working in the field of photovoltaics for more than 40 years. He is currently Managing Director of AMROCK, a PV technology consulting company, Adjunct Professor at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China, and at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. He is also a non-executive director at Oxford PV (UK) and BTimaging (Australia). Dr Verlinden has published over 200 technical papers and contributed to a number of books. He has received the 2016 IEEE William Cherry Award and the 2019 Becquerel Prize for his work at the forefront of PV technology. Dr Verlinden is also recipient of the 2017 Chinese Government Friendship Award, the highest award given by China to foreigners.

Asst Prof Martha Victoria

Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering at Aarhus University

Marta Victoria is Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical and Production Engineering at Aarhus University (Denmark). Her research focuses on the modelling of large-scale energy systems with high renewable penetration paying special attention to the role of solar photovoltaics. She obtained her BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering at the Technical University of Madrid where she also got her PhD on high-efficiency photovoltaic modules at the Solar Energy Institute.

Currently, she participates in the REINVEST project to research alternative transition pathways for Europe and Denmark, and in the HYPERFARM project, where she investigates different Agrivoltaics concepts. She is a member of the Open Energy Modelling Initiative, which aims to promote openness and transparency in energy system modelling, and she co-develops the opensource energy model PyPSA-Eur-Sec.

Invited Speakers

Prof Kylie Catchpole

Professor in the School of Engineering, Australian National University

Kylie Catchpole is Professor in the School of Engineering at the Australian National University. She has research interests in solar cells and solar fuels as well as the broader energy transition. Her group has achieved leading efficiencies for perovskite and perovskite/silicon tandem solar cells, and their work on direct solar-to-hydrogen generation was listed as one of the top 10 innovations by the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum (ICEF) in 2020. She was awarded the inaugural John Booker Medal for Engineering Science from the Australian Academy of Science.

Prof Martin Green

Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics

Martin Green is Scientia Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and Director of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, involving several other Australian Universities and research groups. His group’s contributions to photovoltaics are well known and include holding the record for silicon solar cell efficiency for 30 of the last 38 years, described as one of the “Top Ten” Milestones in the history of solar photovoltaics. The PERC solar cell that he invented in 1983 and his team developed to its full potential accounted for an estimated 90% of worldwide solar module production in 2020. Major international awards include the 1999 Australia Prize, the 2002 Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize, the 2007 SolarWorld Einstein Award, the Global Energy Prize presented in Moscow in 2018 and the 2021 Japan Prize.

Prof Itaru Osaka

Professor at Hiroshima University

Professor Itaru Osaka received his doctoral degree from University of Tsukuba in 2002. After a 4-year research stint at Fujifilm, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher in Carnegie Mellon University in 2006–2009. He then started his professional carrier at Hiroshima University as an Assistant Professor in 2009, and moved to RIKEN as a Senior Research Scientist in 2013. He was appointed as a Professor at Hiroshima University in 2016. His research interests include design and synthesis of π-conjugated materials, in particular, polymers for organic electronics such as field-effect transistors and solar cells

Dr Gang Xiong

Director of First Solar California Technology Center

Dr. Gang Xiong currently is the director of First Solar California Technology Center, managing the site operation and research programs such as CdTe and perovskite. He joined First Solar in 2007 and has since worked on cell/module research and manufacturing implementation. Dr. Xiong and his team have set a few CdTe cell and module efficiency world records. Representing First Solar, Dr. Xiong also serves at a few industrial advisory boards (IAB), including as the IAB chair of U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Cadmium Telluride Photovoltaics, the IAB chair of Next Generation PV Research Center under National Science foundation, and the IAB member of U.S. Manufacturing of Advanced Perovskite. Dr. Xiong is a physicist and material scientist by training. He received his bachelor’s degree at University of Science and Technology of China, and a PhD in Physics at Wake Forest University, USA. Before joining First Solar, Dr. Xiong was a postdoc research fellow at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory at US Department of Energy.

Asst Director Weiwei Deng

Assistant Director of Canadian Solar

Ms. Weiwei Deng received her Bachelor Degree in Materials Science Engineering in 2005 from Wuhan University of Technology and her Master Degree in 2007 also from the same university. She completed her Master thesis on Study of Dielectric Materials at the State Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Material Synthesis and Processing, Wuhan University of Technology. After her graduation in 2007, she started working at Trina Solar as a researcher in the Advanced Solar Cell group, focusing on high-efficiency p-type silicon solar cells. During the past years, she and her team worked exclusively on PERC solar cell research, optimizing the cell design and process for large-volume industrial manufacturing. Five efficiency world records on mono and multi P-type solar cell were achieved by her team. In 2017, she started working for Canadian solar, focusing on the TOPCon cell technology development, characterization and simulation. Ms Weiwei Deng is currently assistant director of high efficiency cell development group at Canadian solar. She is author or co-author of 15 scientific papers and 12 patents related to photovoltaics. Over the last few years, she and her team have managed to continuously improve the efficiency of mono- and multi-crystalline silicon PERC and TOPCon solar cell, pushing the limits of technology and surpassing their previous records. She is dedicated to demonstrate all the possibilities of PERC and TOPCon technology on an industrial scale, and to approach as close as possible to the higher efficiency level.

The Honourable Malcolm Turnbull AC

29th Prime Minister of Australia

Australia’s 29th Prime Minister (2015-2018) had international careers in law, business and the media before entering politics at the age of 50. As Prime Minister, he reformed Australia’s personal income tax, education and childcare systems, oversaw the legalisation of same sex marriage and announced the construction of Snowy Hydro 2.0 the biggest pumped hydro scheme in the southern hemisphere. Mr Turnbull embarked on the largest peacetime investment in Australian defence capabilities and set out Australia’s first national cybersecurity strategy. Globally, Mr Turnbull played a leading role in reviving the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP-11 or CPTPP) after the United States withdrew. He also struck deals with US Presidents Obama and Trump to accept refugees who tried to arrive in Australia illegally by boat. 

As a young lawyer, Mr Turnbull successfully defended former MI5 agent Peter Wright against the British Government in the 1986 “Spycatcher” trial before entering business where he ran his own investment banking firm for a decade before joining Goldman Sachs as a partner in 1997. Both before and after his political career, Mr Turnbull has been a successful venture capitalist. He co founded OzEmail Limited, the first Australian tech company to be listed on the NASDAQ.

Since leaving politics, Mr Turnbull has resumed his business career. He is a senior adviser to KKR and an investor in, and adviser to, many Australian technology businesses. He is a director of the International Hydropower Association and Chairman of Australian Fortescue Future Industries.  Mr Turnbull speaks and writes on a range of issues including cyber security, geopolitics and renewable energy. 

Dr Pietro Altermatt

Principal Scientist at Trinasolar in Changzhou, China

Pietro started researching SIPOS cells in 1990 as a student assistant at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He then joined Martin Green’s group at UNSW in Sydney, and his modelling contributed to the world laboratory records of the time – and also showed the feasible potential for Si solar cells, which helped spur large industrial investments in Japan and Germany. In 2005, he moved to Germany to set up a modelling group at the University of Hanover and the ISFH. With the PhD students, he extended the models to industrially manufactured cells for the first time, in collaboration with the German PV industry. The models triggered, for example, the removal of phosphorus clusters in the emitter and contributed to efficiency improvements across the PV industry in the following years. In 2015, he became Principal Scientist at Trinasolar in Changzhou, China, helping to introduce PERC cells in China and contributing to the world records for large area industrial cells at the time. He is currently driving the development of transparent passivating contacts for the next generation of mainstream Si cells. Looking back, he started as a student with SIPOS cells, a precursor to passivating contacts, and PERL cells, the precursor to today’s mainstream PERC cells – and now he’s back at 23.3% (median) PERC mass production and bringing PassCon cells into the mainstream. Call it a cycle, or recycling.


Dr Ziyuan Li

Member of IEEE and currently the ACT section chair of IEEE Photonics and Electronic Devices Societies

Dr Ziyuan Li received her B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering from Beijing Institute of Technology in 2009 and Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales in 2013. Currently she is working as an ARC Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow in Research School of Physics, The Australian National University (ANU). She has published over 70 peer-review publications (49 journal papers), 2 book chapters, and 2 patents. She also delivered several invited presentations and/or served as an early- and mid-career researcher committee member and session chairperson at international conferences, including International Conference on Metamaterials, Photonic Crystals and Plasmonics (META), Pacific Rim International Conference on Advanced Materials and Processing (PRICM), and International Union of Materials Research Societies International Conference in Asia (IUMRS-ICA). She is a member of IEEE and currently the ACT section chair of IEEE Photonics and Electronic Devices Societies. Her research interests are in III-V semiconductor opto-electronic devices such as solar cells, photodetectors, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and lasers.


Prof Alex Jen

Lee Shau-Kee Chair, Professor of Materials Science & Chair Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science, City University of Hong Kong

Alex Jen is the Lee Shau-Kee Chair Professor of Materials Science and Chair Professor of Chemistry and Materials Science of the City University of Hong Kong. He also served as the Provost of CityU during 2016-2020. He received his B.S. from the National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in USA. Before arriving the CityU, he served as the Boeing-Johnson Chair Professor and Chair of the Department of Materials Science & Engineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. He was also appointed as Chief Scientist for the Clean Energy Institute endowed by the Washington State Governor.

He is a distinguished researcher with more than 950 publications, 70,000 citations, and an H-index of 135. He has also co-invented 63 patents and invention disclosures. His interdisciplinary research covers organic/hybrid functional materials and devices for photonics, energy, sensors, and nanomedicine.

For his pioneering contributions in organic photonics and electronics, Professor Jen was elected as an Academician by both the European Academy of Sciences and the Washington State Academy of Sciences. He is also a Fellow of several professional societies, including AAAS, MRS, ACS, PMSE, OSA, SPIE. He was named by the Times Higher Education (THE) in 2018 as one of the “Top 10 university researchers in Perovskite Solar Cell Research”. In addition, he was recognized by Thomson Reuters as one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds of 2015 and 2016 and as a “Highly Cited Researcher” in Materials Science from 2014-2020.

Dr Tatsuya Takamoto

Head of Compound Business Promotion Division, Smart Business Solutions BU, Sharp Corporation

Dr. Tatsuya Takamoto has been engaged in III-V compound high efficiency solar cells since 1987. He is now Head of Compound Business Promotion Division, Smart Business Solutions BU, Sharp Corporation. His outstanding achievements of record efficiency include 30.3% efficiency dual-junction cell in 1997, 37.9% triple-junction cell and 44.4% concentrator cell in 2013. He has won PVSEC Paper Awards at the 9th, 11th, 13th 15th and 17th PVSEC and also the PVSEC Award at WCPEC-6 in 2014.

Dr Louise Hirst

Lecturer in semiconductor materials and nanofabrication, at the University of Cambridge

Dr Hirst is a lecturer in semiconductor materials and nanofabrication, at the University of Cambridge, jointly between the Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy and the Department of Physics. She obtained her PhD at Imperial College London, before becoming a National Academy of Sciences Research Associate, Karles Fellow and Staff Scientist within the Optoelectronics and Radiation Effects Branch of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. She started the Space PV group ( at the University of Cambridge in 2018 and her current research focuses on photovoltaics for space power applications, light management in ultra-thin photovoltaics and novel fabrication methods for III-V photovoltaics.

Prof Michael McGehee

Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Colorado Boulder

Mike McGehee is a Professor in the Chemical and Biological Engineering Department at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is the Associate Director of the Materials Science and Engineering Program and has a joint appointment at the National Renewable Energy Lab. He is a cofounder and the Chief Scientist of Tynt Technologies, a company that is commercializing dynamic windows based on reversible metal electrodeposition. He is an advisor to Swift Solar, which was cofounded by former members of his research group. He was a professor in the Materials Science and Engineering Department at Stanford University for 18 years and a Senior Fellow of the Precourt Institute for Energy. His current research interests are developing new materials for smart windows and solar cells. He has previously done research on polymer lasers, light-emitting diodes and transistors as well as transparent electrodes made from carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires. His group makes materials and devices, performs a wide variety of characterization techniques, models devices and assesses long-term stability. He received his undergraduate degree in physics from Princeton University and his PhD degree in Materials Science from the University of California at Santa Barbara.