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Dr Katie Shanks

Dr Katie Shanks

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

 +44 (0) 1326 259467

 Environment and Sustainability Institute ESI 01.25

 

Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter, Penryn Campus, Penryn, Cornwall, TR10 9FE, UK

 Office hours:

Reachable by email during: 9:00am-5:00pm Monday-Friday

Overview

I am a research fellow in the Environment and Sustainability Insittitue (ESI) at the Unviersity of Exeter Penryn Campus. My expertise lies in optics but encompases many contributing fields surrounding solar concentrator technology. This includes materials, surface structures, manufacturing methods, solar tracking, thermal managment, photovoltaic performances and biomimicry. I am happy to talk about any of my work, assist or collaborate on any projects no matter the background discipline. I have developed very good problem solving skills and fast learning to work with other disciplines. One of my key interests is developing intedisciplianry research, the methodologies, procedures for initiation and management as well.

I have been awarded a 3-year fellowship from EPSRC under the David-Clarke scheme. My research will be investigating optical nanostructures within nature, such as the cabbage white and glass wing butterfly wing scales (to begin with) for incorporation into new ultra-compact and lightweight solar panel technologies that can be integrated into various smart structures (laptops, phone, smart cars, smart buildings). 

My PhD was specifically on: novel optical designs and materials. I like to take advantage of opportunities to travel, work in different environments and in general get involved in new projects. I have volunteered for various activities including organizing interdisciplianry workshops and postdoctoral conferences at the University of Exeter as well as various outreach events (science in the pub, school science days, royal cornwall show). I have spent 3 months in Spain carrying out research and working with academics at the University of Jaen testing and developing PV prototypes and similarly spent 4 months in India carrying out durability and temperature tests. More recently I was awarded the SPIE Woman in Engineering funding to visit and collaborate at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia for a month. This has lead to ongoing work on beamsteering optics, nanofluids and perovskite solar cell research.

Qualifications

EPSRC Fellowship: "Invisible" Solar Technologies from bio-inspired Optics. start date: 01/01/2022. 

PhD in Renewable Energy at Unviersity of Exeter (July 2013 - Febuary 2017)
PhD title: Identification and Development of Novel Optics for Concentrator Photovoltaic Applications

First degree Mphys in Energy Science and Technology at Heriot-Watt University (2008-2013)

Links

Research

Research interests

I have a number of ongoing collaborations and side projects which i am interested in developing further. These include: structured optics (nano-macro size and including anti-reflective and beam-steering effects); biomimicry of natural structures (mainly for multi-functional lightweight optical devices but also to develop understanding of the natural structures in question); Ultrahigh concentration; nanofluid optical effects within CPVT systems; and developing interdisciplinary practices.

I am also a board member for Art and Energy, a project lead by Chloe Udon developing solar panel artwork and engaging with communities, schools and the public in general to understand and alter peoples perceptions of solar energy and science research in general.

https://artandenergy.org/services/pilots/

Research projects

1. EPSRC Fellowship: "Invisible" Solar Technologies from Bio-Inspired Optics.
Start date: 01/01/2022.

What can a solar engineer learn from Butterflies?

Known for their beautiful wing patterns, butterflies, like all things within nature, are actually highly optimised systems tweaked over billions of years through evolution. –Which firstly, makes them excellent partners to cheat from.

One particular butterfly for example, the cabbage white, has developed a unique way of quickly warming its flight muscles in the morning. It can be found holding its white wings in a V-shape, which, originally puzzled scientists, but now, has been identified as a form of solar concentration.

Solar concentrators are simply things like magnifying lenses or concave mirrors that focus sunlight onto a reduced area of photovoltaic (solar sensitive) material. This is similar to the sunbathing mirrors you may have seen in films and TV shows where people use them to increase the sun on their face and neck. These optics can reduce the costs of solar panels and even increase the efficiency; but integrating optics into new forms of solar panels produces heavy and bulky designs.

The butterfly’s wings are however the perfect solar concentrator; extremely lightweight and optimised for all weather conditions. Through my biomimicry (copying nature) research at the University of Exeter I have analysed the fascinating nanostructures responsible for the cabbage white’s highly reflective, lightweight and surprisingly durable wings. Initial testing has shown copying these nanostructures could improve the power to weight ratio of current solar panel technology by as much as 17 times! My research delves into a variety of nano-fabrication techniques to develop a method to make enhanced solar technology that can be easily integrated into everyday structures such as smart cars, smart phones and of course smart buildings. All of which are absolutely essential as we speed up our progress towards a sustainable carbon neutral future.

 

2. ERDF-ESIF, Energy Indpendent Farming: I am currently working on a project which focuses on developing energy independent farms within Cornwall. This involves recording energy demand on our test farm site and the available renewable energy (wind, solar and biomass) and modelling optimum configurations of supply and demand for different scenarios (maximum energy demands, winter conditions, summer conditions, maximum bio-fuel yield).

2.1 Supergen Seedcorn Funding: Feasibility study of coupling solar concentrators with photocatalytic technology for biomass photo-reforming to hydrogen and sustainable energy fuels: As we progress towards a more sustainable network of energy we are faced with the increasing challenge of balancing renewable energy intermittences with energy storage to supply varying power demands. Currently, we still lack direct integration between renewable energy generation and energy storage to truly reduce the strain on the current grid system. Hence, this research investigates the feasibility of coupling solar energy concentration with biomass photo-reforming to sustainable energy fuels (incl. hydrogen). Photocatalysis is a light driven chemical process which generates powerful radical species that are capable of reforming biomass to desirable products via oxidation and reduction reactions. The impact of photons, specifically light intensity, is a key factor at the forefront of the transition between academic research and industry for this field. It is vital to investigate how intensifying incident light can impact the rate at which a reactions occurs. Such an integrated process could provide instantaneous and storable energy on site simultaneously and be blended into current biomass processing systems. This is completely novel research and the characteristics of such a system requires preliminary investigations to determine feasibility. If promising, the methods could be fed into the pioneering work by Bennamann, who are currently leading the ERDF funded project: Energy Independent Farming.

3.INNOVATE UK-CHINA: E-IPB Project.

Developing solar concentator windows for the UK and China climates. This included working closely with industrial partners such as: Yorkshire Photonics, Brinell Vision, Evoenergy and Couch Perry Wilkes. Strong links are still maintained with Yorkshrie Photonics and Brinell Vision for their optical expertise and potential future projects are under application. This work focused on developing plastic optics which fit within standard double glazed windows producing electricity, some thermal heating and useful lighting and insulation to the rooms they were installed in. 

Publications

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Pickering T, Shanks K, Sundaram S (2021). Modelling technique and analysis of porous anti-reflective coatings for reducing wide angle reflectance of thin-film solar cells. Journal of Optics, 23(2), 025901-025901.
Sun Y, Liu D, Flor JF, Shank K, Baig H, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, Mallick TK, Wu Y, et al (2020). Analysis of the daylight performance of window integrated photovoltaics systems. Renewable Energy, 145, 153-163. Abstract.
Ahmed A, Shanks K, Sundaram S, Mallick TK (2020). Theoretical Investigation of the Temperature Limits of an Actively Cooled High Concentration Photovoltaic System. Energies, 13(8), 1902-1902. Abstract.
Shanks K, Knowles A, Brierley A, Baig H, Orr H, Sun Y, Wu Y, Sundaram S, Mallick T (2019). An experimental analysis of the optical, thermal and power to weight performance of plastic and glass optics with AR coatings for embedded CPV windows. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 200 Abstract.  Full text.
Al Siyabi I, Shanks K, Khanna S, Mallick TK, Sundaram S (2019). Evaluation of concentrating photovoltaic performance under different homogeniser materials. Materials Letters, 241, 219-222. Abstract.
Spalding A, Shanks K, Bennie J, Potter U, Ffrench-Constant R (2019). Optical Modelling and Phylogenetic Analysis Provide Clues to the Likely Function of Corneal Nipple Arrays in Butterflies and Moths. Insects, 10(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Shanks K, Ferrer-Rodriguez JP, Fernàndez EF, Almonacid F, Pérez-Higueras P, Senthilarasu S, Mallick T (2018). A >3000 suns high concentrator photovoltaic design based on multiple Fresnel lens primaries focusing to one central solar cell. Solar Energy, 169, 457-467. Abstract.  Full text.
Sun Y, Shanks K, Baig H, Zhang W, Hao X, Li Y, He B, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, et al (2018). Integrated semi-transparent cadmium telluride photovoltaic glazing into windows: Energy and daylight performance for different architecture designs. Applied Energy, 231, 972-984. Abstract.
Shanks K, Baig H, Singh NP, Senthilarasu S, Reddy KS, Mallick TK (2017). Prototype fabrication and experimental investigation of a conjugate refractive reflective homogeniser in a cassegrain concentrator. Solar Energy, 142, 97-108. Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick TK (2016). Optics for concentrating photovoltaics: Trends, limits and opportunities for materials and design. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 60, 394-407. Full text.
Shanks K, Sarmah N, Ferrer-Rodriguez JP, Senthilarasu S, Reddy KS, Fernández EF, Mallick TK (2016). Theoretical Investigation Considering Manufacturing Errors of a High Concentrating Photovoltaic of Cassegrain design and it’s Experimental Validation. Solar Energy, 131, 235-245. Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick TK (2015). High-concentration optics for photovoltaic applications. Green Energy and Technology, 190, 85-113. Abstract.
Ffrench-Constant RH (2015). White butterflies as solar photovoltaic concentrators. Scientific Reports, 5 Full text.

Conferences

Sun Y, Shanks K, Baig H, Zhang W, Hao X, Li Y, He B, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, et al (2019). Integrated CdTe PV glazing into windows: Energy and daylight performance for different window-to-wall ratio.  Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Knowles A, Brierly A, Baig H, Sun Y, Wu Y, Mallick T (2019). Prototype optical modelling procedure and outdoor characterization of an embedded polyolefin crossed compound parabolic concentrator for integrated photovoltaic windows.  Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Baig H, Knowles A, Brierley A, Orr H, Patel J, Foster N, Ball S, Sun Y, Wu Y, et al (2019). The Assembly of Embedded Systems for Integrated Photovoltaic windows in Rural Buildings (E-IPB).  Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick T (2017). Reliability investigation for a built ultrahigh concentrator prototype.  Abstract.  Full text.
Siyabi IA, Shanks K, Mallick T, Sundaram S (2017). Thermal analysis of a multi-layer microchannel heat sink for cooling concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells.  Abstract.  Full text.
Mallick TK, Micheli L, Banerjee S, Shanks K, Lokeswaran S, Baig H, Calabria F, Sarmah N, Walker M, Theristis M, et al (2015). Status and perspective of concentrating photovoltaic systems: the results of the BioCPV project and opportunities for a sustainable energy supply to rural areas.  Abstract.
Shanks K, Baig H, Mallick TK (2015). The Conjugate Refractive-Reflective Homogeniser in a 500x Cassegrain Concentrator: Design and Limits. PVSAT-11. 15th - 17th Apr 2015. Full text.
Perez-Higueras P, Pablo Ferrer-Rodriguez J, Shanks K, Almonacid F, Fernandez EF (2015). Thin Photovoltaic Modules at Ultra High Concentration.  Author URL.
Shanks K, Sarmah N, Reddy KS, Mallick T (2014). The Design of a Parabolic Reflector System with High Tracking Tolerance for High Solar Concentration.  Author URL.

Publications by year


2021

Pickering T, Shanks K, Sundaram S (2021). Modelling technique and analysis of porous anti-reflective coatings for reducing wide angle reflectance of thin-film solar cells. Journal of Optics, 23(2), 025901-025901.

2020

Sun Y, Liu D, Flor JF, Shank K, Baig H, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, Mallick TK, Wu Y, et al (2020). Analysis of the daylight performance of window integrated photovoltaics systems. Renewable Energy, 145, 153-163. Abstract.
Ahmed A, Shanks K, Sundaram S, Mallick TK (2020). Theoretical Investigation of the Temperature Limits of an Actively Cooled High Concentration Photovoltaic System. Energies, 13(8), 1902-1902. Abstract.

2019

Shanks K, Knowles A, Brierley A, Baig H, Orr H, Sun Y, Wu Y, Sundaram S, Mallick T (2019). An experimental analysis of the optical, thermal and power to weight performance of plastic and glass optics with AR coatings for embedded CPV windows. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 200 Abstract.  Full text.
Al Siyabi I, Shanks K, Khanna S, Mallick TK, Sundaram S (2019). Evaluation of concentrating photovoltaic performance under different homogeniser materials. Materials Letters, 241, 219-222. Abstract.
Sun Y, Shanks K, Baig H, Zhang W, Hao X, Li Y, He B, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, et al (2019). Integrated CdTe PV glazing into windows: Energy and daylight performance for different window-to-wall ratio.  Abstract.  Full text.
Spalding A, Shanks K, Bennie J, Potter U, Ffrench-Constant R (2019). Optical Modelling and Phylogenetic Analysis Provide Clues to the Likely Function of Corneal Nipple Arrays in Butterflies and Moths. Insects, 10(9). Abstract.  Author URL.  Full text.
Shanks K, Knowles A, Brierly A, Baig H, Sun Y, Wu Y, Mallick T (2019). Prototype optical modelling procedure and outdoor characterization of an embedded polyolefin crossed compound parabolic concentrator for integrated photovoltaic windows.  Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Baig H, Knowles A, Brierley A, Orr H, Patel J, Foster N, Ball S, Sun Y, Wu Y, et al (2019). The Assembly of Embedded Systems for Integrated Photovoltaic windows in Rural Buildings (E-IPB).  Abstract.  Full text.

2018

Shanks K, Ferrer-Rodriguez JP, Fernàndez EF, Almonacid F, Pérez-Higueras P, Senthilarasu S, Mallick T (2018). A >3000 suns high concentrator photovoltaic design based on multiple Fresnel lens primaries focusing to one central solar cell. Solar Energy, 169, 457-467. Abstract.  Full text.
Sun Y, Shanks K, Baig H, Zhang W, Hao X, Li Y, He B, Wilson R, Liu H, Sundaram S, et al (2018). Integrated semi-transparent cadmium telluride photovoltaic glazing into windows: Energy and daylight performance for different architecture designs. Applied Energy, 231, 972-984. Abstract.

2017

Shanks K, Baig H, Singh NP, Senthilarasu S, Reddy KS, Mallick TK (2017). Prototype fabrication and experimental investigation of a conjugate refractive reflective homogeniser in a cassegrain concentrator. Solar Energy, 142, 97-108. Abstract.  Full text.
Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick T (2017). Reliability investigation for a built ultrahigh concentrator prototype.  Abstract.  Full text.
Siyabi IA, Shanks K, Mallick T, Sundaram S (2017). Thermal analysis of a multi-layer microchannel heat sink for cooling concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) cells.  Abstract.  Full text.

2016

Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick TK (2016). Optics for concentrating photovoltaics: Trends, limits and opportunities for materials and design. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 60, 394-407. Full text.
Shanks K, Sarmah N, Ferrer-Rodriguez JP, Senthilarasu S, Reddy KS, Fernández EF, Mallick TK (2016). Theoretical Investigation Considering Manufacturing Errors of a High Concentrating Photovoltaic of Cassegrain design and it’s Experimental Validation. Solar Energy, 131, 235-245. Abstract.  Full text.

2015

Shanks K, Senthilarasu S, Mallick TK (2015). High-concentration optics for photovoltaic applications. Green Energy and Technology, 190, 85-113. Abstract.
Mallick TK, Micheli L, Banerjee S, Shanks K, Lokeswaran S, Baig H, Calabria F, Sarmah N, Walker M, Theristis M, et al (2015). Status and perspective of concentrating photovoltaic systems: the results of the BioCPV project and opportunities for a sustainable energy supply to rural areas.  Abstract.
Shanks K, Baig H, Mallick TK (2015). The Conjugate Refractive-Reflective Homogeniser in a 500x Cassegrain Concentrator: Design and Limits. PVSAT-11. 15th - 17th Apr 2015. Full text.
Perez-Higueras P, Pablo Ferrer-Rodriguez J, Shanks K, Almonacid F, Fernandez EF (2015). Thin Photovoltaic Modules at Ultra High Concentration.  Author URL.
Ffrench-Constant RH (2015). White butterflies as solar photovoltaic concentrators. Scientific Reports, 5 Full text.

2014

Shanks K, Sarmah N, Reddy KS, Mallick T (2014). The Design of a Parabolic Reflector System with High Tracking Tolerance for High Solar Concentration.  Author URL.

K_Shanks Details from cache as at 2021-10-21 02:11:05

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