Solar Energy- a Solution to the Energy Crisis in Sri Lanka
I M Dharmadasa (IMD) is the Professor of Electronic Materials & Devices at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK and Head of the Electronic Materials & Sensors Research Group within the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI).
His research activities focus on the development of a new generation of low cost, high efficiency solar cells. He has nearly four decades of experience in both industry and academia and his work has secured six new patents, based on novel process developments. He has also sparked scientific debate by proposing two new scientific theories concerning the development of photovoltaic solar cells. IMD has published over 100 refereed journal papers, 4 book chapters, a single authored book on “Advances in Thin Film Solar Cells” and given over 175 conference presentations, including plenary and invited talks. In this process, he has successfully supervised 17 postgraduate theses, 14 years of postdoctoral research and examined 22 postgraduate candidates. He is now working with industrial partners to commercialise new science that his group is producing.
Earlier in his career, IMD graduated from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka by completing two BSc Honours degrees covering Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. He won the Dr. Hewavitharana memorial prize for best performance for his Physics Special Degree in 1975, and joined the academic staff of the Physics Department in the Science Faculty at the University of Peradeniya. After winning an open commonwealth scholarship in 1977, he completed his PhD thesis in 1980 at the University of Durham (UK), before returning to his post in Sri Lanka. A deep research interest generated by his PhD thesis led to his return to the UK in 1984 where he was an active solar energy researcher at University College Cardiff and the British Petroleum Company (BP), before joining Sheffield Hallam University in 1990. Back home in the UK, he regularly gives guest lectures at secondary schools around Sheffield, with the hope of instilling the importance of renewable energy technologies in the minds of young students. IMD is actively involved in the promotion of clean energy technologies for social development and the reduction of poverty. He helped establish and now leads the South-Asia Renewable Energy Promotional (SAREP) network, which aims to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy technologies.
He has designed, piloted and monitored “Solar Village” project, and this is now in the replication stage within and outside Sri Lanka. IMD is a Fellow of the World Innovation Foundation and the UK Institute of Physics. He referees for over 12 international Journals and currently serves as Assessor/panel member for The European Commission (EC) and the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission (CSC). In the past he has served as an Assessor & panel member for the UK funding Council (EPSRC), Department of Trade & Industry (DTI), The British Council (BC). IMD holds dual citizenship (Sri Lankan & British) and currently advising several Government Ministries for using renewable energy as a tool for social development and the empowerment of rural communities. IMD is one of the founding members of the APSL-UK (Association of Professional Sri Lankans in UK), and has served as the Vice President for 5 years and the President for two years (2009-2011).
Research Website: http://www.shu.ac.uk/research/meri/professor-i-m-dharmadasa
Contacts: E-mail: Dharme@shu.ac.uk Tel: +44 225 6910 Fax: +44 225 6930