One of mankind’s greatest challenges is to find ways to replace the diminishing fossil fuel supply. The most obvious energy source is the sun, origin of most energy found on Earth.
The Winner of the 2010 Millennium Technology Prize, Professor Michael Grätzel, Director of the Laboratory of Photonics and Interfaces at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), has responded to the challenge with his dye-sensitized solar cells.
“The constraint of solar energy has traditionally been its price. ‘Grätzel cells’ provide a more affordable way of harnessing solar energy. Grätzel’s innovation is likely to have an important role in low-cost, large-scale solutions for renewable energy,” says the President and CEO of Technology Academy Finland, Dr Ainomaija Haarla, explaining why Grätzel was selected as the winner.
The decision was made by the Board of Directors of Technology Academy Finland, based on the recommendation of the International Selection Committee.
The price/performance ratio of Grätzel’s dye-sensitized solar cells is excellent. The technology often described as “artificial photosynthesis” is a promising alternative to standard silicon photovoltaics. It is made of low-cost materials and does not need an elaborate apparatus to manufacture. Though Grätzel cells are still in relatively early stages of development, they show great promise as an inexpensive alternative to costly silicon solar cells and as an attractive candidate as a new renewable energy source.
Grätzel cells, which promise electricity-generating windows and low-cost solar panels, have just made their debut in consumer products.
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