ERC Consolidator Grant for Dr. Ian Marius Peters

31 January 2023

Physicist at HI ERN receives prestigious award and 2 million euros in funding to develop recycling concepts for solar modules

Dr. Ian Marius Peters of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN), a branch of Forschungszentrum Jülich, has been awarded one of the prestigious Consolidator Grants of the European Research Council ERC. For the C2C-PV project on the development of recycling concepts for solar modules, the scientist will receive around 2 million euros in funding over a period of 5 years. Across Europe, more than 2,200 researchers had applied in the current round of ERC calls.

Turning renewable into sustainable: The C2C-PV project aims to feed the materials used for solar modules into a sustainable cycle - in other words, cradle-to-cradle (C2C). Recycling is mandatory in the European Union, but in photovoltaics (PV) it is one of the biggest challenges ahead. This is because today's solar modules are designed to last as long as possible. This is achieved through an integrated design, but this is the reason why most modules worldwide end up as waste in landfills. However, recovering the valuable materials from the modules at the end of their life is costly: The process today involves shredding the module, burning the polymer portion and sorting the remaining pieces into glass, silicon and metal. Many of these materials are then only suitable for low-grade applications and not for circular use.

A new design approach must therefore be developed for circular recycling. Modules need to be made not for eternity, but for a perpetual cycle. Developing this new design is now possible with the funding from Brussels. In doing so, the project not only aims to develop the design, but also wants to demonstrate that it is possible to manufacture a completely circularly recyclable module. "If the project is successful, it could help avoid more than 50 million tons of electronic waste. This could help develop renewable energy into sustainable energy," said Peters, the project leader.

"This is a great personal success and a confirmation of the scientist's outstanding work," says Institute Director Prof. Christoph Brabec. "Ian Marius Peters can be deservedly proud of this personal ERC grant. It is a real award for his innovative and excellent research performance. The project ideally supports our research strategy and ensures that HI ERN remains at the forefront of photovoltaic research. We here at HI ERN are all very pleased with him."

About the person

Dr. Ian Marius Peters received his PhD in physics from Albert Ludwigs University in Freiburg, Germany, in 2009 with a thesis on photonic concepts for solar cells.

In his career so far, he has held leading research positions at various renowned institutions, including project leader at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg, group leader at the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), and team leader "Systems on Silicon" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Since 2019, he is head of the research group "High Throughput Characterization and Modeling" at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nuremberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN), a branch of the Forschungszentrum Jülich.

Active in photovoltaic research for more than 18 years, he has published more than 250 papers in journals and at scientific conferences. His areas of expertise include photovoltaic fundamentals, solar power system design, solar cell cost modeling and device modeling.

In 2021, Peters was awarded the Hamakawa Prize for outstanding research, technological achievement and creativity in the field of PV energy conversion.


  • Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
Building HIERN-Immerwahrstr /
Room 2.3
+49 9131-12538303

Tobias Schlößer


    Building 15.3 /
    Room R 3028a
    +49 2461/61-4771
    • Institute of Energy and Climate Research (IEK)
    Building HIERN-Cauerstr /
    Room 5005
    +49 9131-12538204

    ERC Consolidator Grants

    With the Consolidator Grants, the European Research Council funds outstanding project proposals from scientists between 7 and 12 years after their doctorate. Among the ERC's funding lines, the Consolidator Grant thus lies between the Starting Grants, which are awarded to young scientists at the beginning of their careers, and the Advanced Grants for established researchers. The personal grants are considered the most prestigious awards in the European research landscape. Applications are judged solely on the criterion of scientific excellence. Competition is fierce in the multi-stage selection process: there were over 2200 applications in the current round of calls. Across Europe, the ERC this time approved 321 Consolidator Grants with a total amount of 657 million euros.

    Last Modified: 01.03.2023