Prototype Solar Cells Unveiled

Ener1, Inc. has successfully tested a prototype of its new high-efficiency solar cell, which is based on photo-electro converters (PEC) to permit high utilization of available solar energy for electrical energy generation and storage.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida – June 9, 2003 [] According to the company, these successful test results on its PEC-based solar cells provide an important validation of the company’s recent work in combining solar and chemical energy conversion technologies for use in military, industrial and consumer applications requiring high energy efficiency. Combination of solar and chemical energy conversion technologies is an area of rapidly growing importance, particularly in mobile energy systems. Ener1’s solar cell and related chemical energy conversion systems have been designed for high-end equipment for aerospace and military applications, as well as consumer goods such as calculators and watches. “Our photo-electro converters are very promising for use in new integrated systems of power supply with solar and wind farms and storage batteries,” said Elena Shembel, Ener1’s director of research and development. Using PEC for charging lithium secondary batteries provides charging independence from power grids and allows optimization of the charging process. The internal resistance characteristics in Ener1’s lithium battery and solar cell designs also substantially reduce the potential for overcharging. The company’s tests of its new PEC-based solar cell indicate significant improvements in key solar cell characteristics such as efficiency (19-21 percent) and increased power. Ener1’s PEC-based technology also allows larger solar cell elements, which reduces risk of power loss between elements. Ener1’s tests indicate that its PEC-based solar cell system is also stable under radiation that is likely in space-based applications. This most recent success in Ener1’s solar cell development program is the result of substantial Ener1 research and development efforts in this area during the past couple of years. These efforts have been focused on development of new technologies based on Ener1’s fundamental scientific research in areas such as semiconductors and solid phase physics. In developing its new PEC-based solar cell, Ener1 used several innovative techniques, including Ener1’s new vacuum spraying technique and its new high-efficiency photo-lithographic process. “In the past five years, we have witnessed a phenomenal growth rate on the order of 30 percent annually in the photovoltaic industry,” said Peter Novak, Ener1’s CTO and director. “Clearly, this trend will continue and may even accelerate. As part of our energy business, Ener1 has developed solar cell technologies and complementary chemical energy conversion technologies to capitalize on this trend.”

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