Grant Awarded for Solar Power Research

Nanosys Incorporated announced the award of Phase One of a potential US$850,000 Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation to the company.

Palo Alto, California – July 3, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The SBIR program is sponsored by the Small Business Administration and is designed to stimulate technological innovation and commercialization by small businesses. The grant from the National Science Foundation was awarded to further Nanosys’s development and commercialization of their nanocomposite solar cell technology that combines self-assembled inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals into a plastic composite to produce lightweight, flexible solar cells of almost any size and shape. The company said their solar technology will provide electricity with efficiencies surpassing those of traditional thin- film solar cells, but at a cost substantially below that of the other technologies available today. The concept of nanocomposite solar cells using inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals was originally pioneered by Professor Paul Alivisatos, scientific founder of Nanosys, and Dr. Erik Scher, Research and Development Scientist at Nanosys, and Principal Investigator on this SBIR grant. The nanocomposite photovoltaic (PV) system combines the solar conversion efficiency, conductive properties and environmental stability of inorganic semiconductor materials with the lightweight, flexibility, processability and low-cost of plastics, to produce a conformal lightweight commercial photovoltaic technology, said the company. The system can be fabricated using low-cost roll-to-roll processing techniques to produce standalone solar sheets in large-volumes or it can be directly laminated onto other surfaces, such as those of traditional roofing tiles. The technology will not only excel in traditional PV applications such as portable power, on-grid power production and satellite power, but also enable next generation PV that are seamlessly integrated into structural surfaces such as buildings. “Solar is a big opportunity for nanotechnology, and NSF is very selective about their grant awards to corporations,” said Director of Business Development and Co-Founder of Nanosys, Dr. Stephen Empedocles. “This award is a stamp-of-approval by one of the Nation’s most prestigious technology institutions, and acknowledges both the commercial value, as well as the scientific importance, of the work going on at Nanosys.” In addition to securing worldwide, exclusive rights to the nanocomposite solar technology and materials developed in the labs of Dr. Paul Alivisatos at the University of California, Berkeley, Nanosys recently announced its first major corporate partnership with Matsushita Electric Works for commercialization of this novel solar technology in the Asian building materials market. In addition, Nanosys is currently in active discussions with multiple companies for co-development of other commercial sectors. “We are really excited by this award. The ability to produce solar cells that are higher efficiency, cheaper, lighter weight will make solar energy competitive with traditional forms of electricity,” said Research and Development Scientist and Principal Investigator, Dr. Erik Scher. “Our unique technology allows us to separate the functional properties of a material from its processing properties, allowing us to fabricate a material that has the performance of a traditional inorganic solar cell, but processes like a plastic.
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