A Switzerland-based chemist who invented solar cells that mimic photosynthesis is the winner of a million-dollar technology prize announced Wednesday.
Michael Gratzel invented low-cost solar cells that can be turned into electricity-generating windows, mobile solar panels and other devices. He won the $960,000 (€800,000) Millennium Technology Prize, awarded every other year by Finland's Technology Academy.
The cells use nanocrystal films to produce power from sunlight, the BBC reports. The particles are so small that they don't scatter light, and can collect solar energy from all sides. The cells are fairly cheap to make -- they use dye squeezed from berries, for instance -- which the Finnish academy said could be a breakthrough for solar energy.
Gratzel, who was born in Germany and now directs the photonics and interfaces laboratory at Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, told BBC that natural photosynthesis was his inspiration.
The cells have already been used in consumer products, including as battery-charging backpacks. Gratzel suggests making windows from them -- "You could think that the glass of all high-rises in New York would be electricity-generating panels," he said.
He said he would invest his winnings in further research.
Three shortlisted entries were all vying for the world's biggest technology prize. The others were Sir Richard Friend of the University of Cambridge, who invented the OLED, and Stephen Furber of Manchester University, the principal designer of the ARM 32-bit RISC microprocessor, which is used in gadgets from iPhones to Zunes. Friend and Furber each won $179,775 (€150,000).
waiting for some flexible solar panels, but this is great work ! thekpv
This is alittle more in the right direction I think. It doesnt use anything inparticularly hazardious or expensive, and can be integrated with building materials themselves. Quite awesome.
This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are unanimous and needs to be appreciated by everyone.
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Only writing this comment to push the spam rate down below 50%. (But if it doesn't really relate to the post...)
wonderful invention -traping solar energy. Great!!!
Maybe this is the one....
Not trying to speak poorly of this effort, I'm sure it's fantastic stuff.
It's just that once a month or so, there's a story about a revolutionary photoelectric device or system. However, they never seem to become the game changer.
Maybe this is the one....
w-h-y a-r-e y-o-u t-y-p-i-n-g l-i-k-e t-h-i-s-?-?-?
it's not like you'll be banned for saying jersey
but still, GTHO!!!!!!
I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone.
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They actually do have flexible solar panels. They roll up like paper and are pretty inexpensive
I like this idea.The progress of solar power becoming cheap enough for the every day person to afford is great.The problem now is making it widely known.If you want to build solar panels yourself its much cheaper too.you can read guides and learn more here.
I love knowing who invented parts for products we use on a daily basis, I always think "wow I wonder who invented all the tiny parts that go into this machine". So many great minds, glad to know they're also being rewarded. Not just the juggernauts that wouldn't be anyone without these brains.