The Global Energy Prize laureate 2017

Michael Graetzel used the idea of photosynthesis to convert sunlight into power


The Graetzel Cells can be called secondary alternative sources of energy. They may indeed replace expensive and complex technologies of photovoltaic solar silicon based batteries, which we use now. Production requires high purity silicon, which is not cheap. Compared to silicon batteries, the Graetzel Cells are relatively simple in terms of design and made of inexpensive materials. Moreover, they are much more convenient, because this technology allows making flexible, transparent or colored batteries, which collect sunlight both in a twilight and in bad weather. Installed on the walls, they can protect the structure and at the same time produce light (such examples are already known). Small flexible panels are placed on backpacks to charge phones. Transparent cells are able to generate electricity at various frequency ranges of the light flux, up to infrared. It means that the elements can be built into window glasses and combine power generation and cooling of premises. Such panels have already been installed on the façade of the new Switzerland’s High Tech Swiss Innovation Conference Center in Lausanne and at Geneva Airport. Another embodiment of the theory in practice is the noise barrier on the motorway between the Swiss cities of Berne and Zurich. The shield protects the houses adjacent to the highway from noise and generates electricity. Several companies in Switzerland, Germany and Japan have already started mass production of photocells based on the upgraded Graetzel Cells.

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