A journey into achieving a zero-CO2 emissions world

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Mon Feb 21 2022

Author: Guest contributor

Engineering. Chemistry. Materials science. Applied physics. Applied mathematics. Every applied discipline that touches the supply chain will need to work together—to join up as a community—to solve the problems of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Here we’re sharing thoughts from Monica Lira-Cantu is Group Leader of the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2 in Barcelona, and Editorial Board Member of Discover Materials.

What are the short- and long-term goals of your work?

My group has more than 15-year experience on the synthesis of nanomaterials for application in emerging photovoltaics. These PV technologies are currently dominated by halide perovskite solar cells, a technology which has reached the values of efficiency of the commercial silicon solar cells in only a few years. In a short term, we look for methodologies to enhance the lifetime of this technology. Internally and externally we have been able to modify and improve these materials and devices with the goal of 20-year stability. In a long term perspective, from today and the following 15 years we have the very focused goal of transforming our research into valuable products. Photovotlaics is and will be a main player in the journey into the transformation of a zero-CO2 emissions world. 

What do you think is the most relevant way to measure success against the SDG(s) in your field?

Affordable and clean energy, climate action, sustainable cities and communities, responsible production and consumption, industry innovation and infrastructure. These are some of the SDGs where energy and Photovotlaics can directly or indirectly make an impact. In these cases, we measure success by how effective we are making the transition into a zero-emissions society. The best measure will be when we comply with the Europe compromise to avoid climate change, or following principles like the Do No Significant Harm principle (DNSH) which will affect other SDGs (Life below water, Life on land, etc.). 

What do you believe are the most effective ways of communicating your research?

As scientist our research must be communicated first through scientific journals with a well-established peer-review process. The evaluation of our work ensures high quality research and the advancement of any technology trough innovation. This type of communication goes hand-by-hand with dissemination in conferences, symposiums or workshops. Current online resources (videos, blogs, etc.) also permit an excellent medium for communicating research. However, these forms of communication should take place in parallel to science dissemination for stakeholders and the general public. We should be able to expose science to the general audience. This is the best way new discoveries can be accepted by our society and a way to engage the new generation of young scientists. 

What advice do you have for researchers who are looking for ways to make societal impact, in other words, impact beyond their scholarly circle/academia?

Societal impact means to incite positive changes in society avoiding injustice and undertaking challenges. To accomplish the latter researchers must make a compromise to spread the knowledge of science beyond their circle of influence. One way is to create strong networks that will agree on the same mode of action, similar guidelines, principles, protocols and procedures. This is one strong way society will notice and follow. 

What do you see as the role of publishers when it comes to addressing the SDGs? How can they best support researchers?

Publishers should relay always in a strong peer-review process where science can be evaluated thought the knowledge of scientist with the best expertise. Then, dissemination of science should be made and the Open Access initiative is one of the best ways publishers are already influencing science and addressing the SDGs.

Visit Springer Nature's Sustainable Materials dedicated page under SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production to find out more.

About Professor Monica Lira-Cantu

Monica Lira-Cantu
Prof. Monica Lira-Cantu is Group Leader of the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, ICN2 in Barcelona. She obtained a Master and PhD in Materials Science at the Materials Science Institute of Barcelona (ICMAB) & Autonoma University of Barcelona (1995/1997) and completed a postdoctoral work under a contract with the company Schneider Electric/ICMAB (1998). Since 2007 she is Professor at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, Spain) and the director of the Nanostructured Materials for Photovoltaic Energy Group at ICN2. Her research interests are the synthesis and application of nanostructured materials for next-generation solar cells: Dye sensitized, Hybrid, Organic and Perovskite Solar Cells. 


Author: Guest contributor

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