Leading solar engineer & UCA member remembered
A memorial service was held for Professor Stuart Wenham – a leading Australian solar technology inventor – and “much loved” member of Menai-Illawong Uniting Church, on January 8 at UNSW’s Sir John Clancy Auditorium.
Professor Stuart Wenham passed away from melanoma on 23 December 2017 aged 60. He left behind lasting impact on those who knew him and millions of others due to his work in renewable energy.
Professor Wenham was behind significantly increasing the efficiency of solar panels as well as cutting their costs due to his ground-breaking technology invention.
He invented advanced hydrogenation hydrogen passivation technology where lasers are used to control hydrogen atoms in the solar panels’ silicon wafers. This process is estimated to increase energy output to up to 23 per cent in the conversion process from solar to electricity.
The UNSW’s Dean of Engineering, Prof Mark Hoffman, said that Professor Wenham had a considerable influence to help the world transition to renewable energy.
“Stuart Wenham will be remembered for his selfless and continuous efforts to make the world a better place to live,” said Prof Hoffman.
Professor Wenham’s daughter, Dr Alison Ciesla, who is a postdoctoral fellow at UNSW’s School of Photovoltaic & Renewable Energy Engineering said that she was fortunate to have seen the positivity he brought to every aspect of his life.
“It is some consolation knowing that he will live on through his many solar projects and the engineers he taught around the world, as well as the values and kindness he inspired in those around him,” she added.
Samsung, BP Solar, Golden Concord and Xi’an LONGi Silicon Materials are a few of the companies that have been licenced to use Professor Wenham’s technologies.
Wenham’s former student and now world-leading photovoltaics researcher, Martin Green, told the Sydney Morning Herald that Wenham was a, “wonderful and very positive person…lightening the mood of even the tensest situation by his insightful humour.”
Professor Wenham was the Director of the Centre of Excellence for Advanced Photovoltaics and Photonics at the University of NSW. In 2013 he was awarded the British Institution of Engineering and Technology’s A.F. Harvey Engineering Prize.
He passed away peacefully with family and close friends by his side.
Image: Professor Stuart Wenham (Credit: UNSW).