Joshua Pearce

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Joshua M. Pearce
NationalityAmerican, Canadian
Alma materThe Pennsylvania State University
Known forsolar photovoltaics, open source hardware, distributed recycling and additive manufacturing, resilient food
Scientific career
Fieldsphotovoltaics, open-source-appropriate technology, materials engineering, protocrystallinity, open-source hardware, electrical engineering
InstitutionsUniversity of Western Ontario, Michigan Tech, Queen's University
Doctoral advisorChristopher R. Wronski
WebsiteAppropedia User Page

Joshua M. Pearce is an academic engineer at Western University[1] known for his work on protocrystallinity, photovoltaic technology, agrivoltaics, open-source-appropriate technology, and open-source hardware including RepRap 3D printers and recyclebots.

Dr. Pearce received his Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University, where his work on protocrystallinity helped develop low-cost amorphous silicon solar photovoltaic technology.[2] His solar research and outreach[3] continues.[4][5] For example, his research group published a levelized cost of electricity study[6] on solar energy showed solar electricity was economically competitive with fossil fuels over wide geographic regions.[7][8] and showed the value of solar (VOS) often exceeds the net metering rate.[9][10] He showed 1% of Canada's agricultural land converted to agrivoltaics would rid the national grid if carbon emissions while increasing food.[11] His research into BDRF modeling[12] of reflectors showed potential solar systems output increases of 30%.[13] His research supports solar canopies for parking lots,[14][15] floatovoltaics and aquavoltaics.[16] In addition he promotes the DIY[17] and maker movements,[18] with the release of To Catch the Sun as open access.[19]

He is also a vocal advocate of an open-source approach to technical development.[20] For his work related to open-source nanotechnology,[21] Ars Technica compared him to American software freedom activist Richard Stallman.[22] He applied open-source 3-D printing and electronics to scientific equipment design,[23] where he has claimed both superior innovation and lower costs.[24][25] Reviewing his book Open-Source Lab, 3-D Printing Industry wrote, "This is a manual that every scientist should read and it holds a message so powerful and disruptive that the Anarchist Cookbook is a fairy tale in comparison."[26] This work has extended to making frugal biomedical equipment and aids.[27][28][29]

His research has shown that printing household items with a RepRap is less costly[30] and better for the environment[31] than purchasing conventionally manufactured goods. Similarly, his group developed the recyclebot, a waste plastic extruder, which drops the cost of 3D printing filament from $35/kg to ten cents per kg while making recycling even more environmentally beneficial.[32][33] He also helped develop the concept of fused granular fabrication (FGF) where shredded waste plastic is directly converted to products.[34]

In 2013 his group released an open-source 3D printer capable of printing in steel, which cost less than US$1,200.[35][36] in order to encourage more rapid technological development according to Scientific American.[37] This cost reduction was significant as the New York Times reported commercial metal printers at the time cost over US$500,000.[38]

He further developed inexpensive methods such as SODIS to disinfect drinking water in the developing world, using sunlight, water bottles, and salt.[39] He has called for corporate death penalties for industries that kill more people than they employ.[40] Recently, the MIT Sloan Management Review reported that Dr. Pearce has combined many of his research areas developing solar powered 3-D printers to drive sustainable development.[41]



  1. ^ "Western News - Bringing open-source, sustainable tech to the fore". Western News. September 9, 2021. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  2. ^ Pearce, Joshua M. (2004). "Control of Staebler-Wronski defects in hydrogenated amorphous silicon for the de". Bibcode:2004PhDT........88P. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ "Costs and benefits of solar panels | Expert Interview with Joshua Pearce". August 17, 2022. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  4. ^ "Efficiency breakthrough in solar thermal cells - Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production". Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  5. ^ Herman K. Trabish (December 7, 2011). "New Study: Solar Grid Parity Is Here Today". Greentech Media. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  6. ^ Branker, K.; Pathak, M. J. M.; Pearce, J. M. (December 1, 2011). "A review of solar photovoltaic levelized cost of electricity". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 15 (9): 4470–4482. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2011.07.104. hdl:1974/6879. S2CID 73523633.
  7. ^ "Cost of solar falling according to Queen's study". CTVNews. December 7, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  8. ^ "New Study: Solar Grid Parity Is Here Today". Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  9. ^ Hayibo, Koami Soulemane; Pearce, Joshua M. (March 1, 2021). "A review of the value of solar methodology with a case study of the U.S. VOS". Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 137: 110599. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2020.110599. ISSN 1364-0321.
  10. ^ "Your Neighbor's Solar Panels Are Secretly Saving You Money". Popular Mechanics. February 11, 2021. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  11. ^ Corp, Pelmorex (April 25, 2023). "How just 1% of farmland could meet one third of Canada's energy needs". The Weather Network. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  12. ^ Andrews, R. W.; Pollard, A.; Pearce, J. M. (November 1, 2015). "Photovoltaic System Performance Enhancement With Nontracking Planar Concentrators: Experimental Results and Bidirectional Reflectance Function (BDRF)-Based Modeling". IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics. 5 (6): 1626–1635. doi:10.1109/JPHOTOV.2015.2478064. ISSN 2156-3381. S2CID 40828010.
  13. ^ "Researchers Discover How to Shine More Sunlight on Solar Panels, Increase Output By 30% | IHS Electronics360". Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  14. ^ "Climate Brief: Parking lot solar arrays are a smart, green idea; Himalayan glaciers shrinking fast". Daily Kos. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  15. ^ "Solar Parking Lots Are a Win-Win Energy Idea. Why Aren't They the Norm?". CNET. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  16. ^ "Floating solar farms: How 'floatovoltaics' could provide power without taking up valuable real estate". NBC News. February 11, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  17. ^ "You Can Make Your Own Solar Panels, and It's Easier Than You'd Think". CNET. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  18. ^ Dougherty, Dale (October 30, 2020). "Make:cast - Make Anything with Open Source Projects". Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  19. ^ Grafman, Lonny; Pearce, Joshua (January 1, 2021). "To Catch the Sun". To Catch the Sun.
  20. ^ Pearce, JM (September 14, 2012). "Podcast Interview". Science. 337 (6100): 1303–4. Bibcode:2012Sci...337.1303P. doi:10.1126/science.1228183. PMID 22984059. S2CID 44722829. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  21. ^ Timmer, John (November 21, 2012). "Stallman's got company: Researcher wants nanotech patent moratorium". Ars Technica. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  22. ^ Pearce, Joshua M. (2012). "Make nanotechnology research open-source". Nature. 491 (7425): 519–521. Bibcode:2012Natur.491..519P. doi:10.1038/491519a. PMID 23172198. S2CID 4366790.
  23. ^ Pearce, Joshua M. (September 14, 2012). "Building Research Equipment with Free, Open-Source Hardware". Science. 337 (6100): 1303–1304. Bibcode:2012Sci...337.1303P. doi:10.1126/science.1228183. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 22984059. S2CID 44722829.
  24. ^ "3D Printing Brings the Science Lab to Your Backyard". Popular Mechanics. September 13, 2012. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  25. ^ McMurtrie, Beth (March 29, 2013). "Lab Equipment Made With 3-D Printers Could Cut Costs by 97% - Percolator - The Chronicle of Higher Education". Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  26. ^ Sher, Davide. "Prof. Pearce's "Open-Source Lab" Unleashes the Power of 3D Printed Lab Equipment". 3D Printing Industry. Archived from the original on March 6, 2016. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  27. ^ Isha, Bhargava. "Need a walker? These Western University engineers have made it easier, cheaper to build your own". CBC.
  28. ^ "Study at Western University on low cost auto injector". Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  29. ^ "Western University helps develop 3D-printed surgical table". London. July 16, 2022. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  30. ^ Study: At-home 3-D printing could save consumers 'thousands' - CNN, 7/31/2013
  31. ^ 3D printers use less energy than traditional manufacturing - Gigaom - available 3/10/2013.
  32. ^ Michigan Tech Prof Says You Can Save Big With Milk Jug Recycling For 3D Printing - CBS 3/5/2014
  33. ^ Need 3D printer filament? Got milk? - Ars Technica
  34. ^ Dankovich, Cali (April 16, 2019). ""Gigabot X" 3-D printer helps find new uses for recycled plastic". Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  35. ^ Loose screw? 3-D printer may soon forge you a new one - NBC News
  36. ^ Testing your metal- Newsweek
  37. ^ "New 3-D Metal Printer is Open Source and Affordable". Scientific American.
  38. ^ An Inexpensive Way to Print Out Metal Parts - The New York Times, 2013/12/10/
  39. ^ Cuda, Gretchen (May 8, 2012). "Recipe For Safer Drinking Water? Add Sun, Salt And Lime : The Salt". NPR. Retrieved September 5, 2013.
  40. ^ "Coal and tobacco industries kill more Americans each year than they employ". Big Think. February 24, 2019. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  41. ^ Unruh, Gregory (February 12, 2016). "The Revolution Will Be Customized (and Recycled and Solar-Powered)". MIT Sloan Management Review. Retrieved February 26, 2016.
  42. ^ "Create, Share, and Save Money Using Open-Source Projects". Appropedia, the sustainability wiki. Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  43. ^ Grafman, Lonny; Pearce, Joshua (January 1, 2021). "To Catch the Sun". To Catch the Sun.
  44. ^ graphicheart. "Accueil". To Catch The Sun (in French). Retrieved December 20, 2023.
  45. ^ graphicheart. "Casa". To Catch The Sun (in European Spanish). Retrieved December 20, 2023.