Australian renewable energy firm, Dyesol Limited, and the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) in Singapore have advanced their international research collaboration plans with the formal signing of their Research Collaboration Agreement.
The two-year agreement will see a sharing of resources to create scalable and commercially feasible solid state Dye Solar Cell (DSC) technology. DSC technology can best be described as ‘artificial photosynthesis’ using an electrolyte, a layer of titania (a pigment used in white paints and tooth paste) and ruthenium dye deposited on glass, metal or polymer substrates. Light striking the dye excites electrons which are absorbed by the titania to become an electric current. Compared to conventional silicon based photovoltaic technology, Dyesol’s technology has lower cost and embodied energy in manufacture, it produces electricity more efficiently even in low light conditions and can be directly incorporated into buildings by replacing conventional glass panels or metal sheets rather than taking up roof or extra land area.
“This collaboration is highly beneficial for both parties and leverages our complementary skill sets,” said Dyesol CEO Gordon Thompson. “NTU will provide the innovation inspiration, and Dyesol will provide the development perspiration by scaling-up and testing for durability the small-scale technology that NTU will develop.”
“It is a lot of work to go from a test cell to something that is industrially scalable, in terms of performance, durability, and cost, and that is why we spend more time in Australia. By working together to create scalable and commercially feasible solid state DSC we will open up a huge range of applications where we are currently limited with the materials we have,” he added.
Under the agreement, NTU and Dyesol will share Intellectual Property (IP) and Dyesol will have the opportunity to take out commercialization rights for the new IP granted under this agreement.
ERI@N Executive Director, Prof. Subodh Mhaisalkar said the DSC is currently one of the most promising technologies for achieving cost efficient solar cell technologies based on Earth’s abundant and low cost materials such as titanium dioxides.
“In the upcoming projects, we aim to optimize the solid state DSC devices, to high efficiency cells which are more reliable and more amenable to scaling and manufacturing than conventional liquid electrolyte based solar cells. Partnering with the DSC industry leader, Dyesol, is an important synergy for ERI@N as we are making significant impact in the area of solar energy capture and storage.”
Nanyang Technological University, a fast rising global university, has many important industry partnerships with prestigious multinational industrial leaders and academic institutions. Dyesol is a key research partner in the university’s drive to tackle the important global issue of sustainable energy production for real-world applications.
The project will be overseen by the inventor of Dye Solar Cell technology, celebrated photo-chemist Professor Michael Graetzel, who is Chairman of both the Energy Research Institute at NTU’s (ERI@N) Scientific Advisory Board and Dyesol’s Technical Advisory Board.
"The potential applications for solid state DSC will expand the opportunities for taking DSC out of the laboratory and into the global economy," said Professor Michael Graetzel.
DSC photovoltaic technology has the ability to be readily integrated into a number of building-product, consumer and industrial applications.
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